Cebu Pacific Planning Jet Service to Cantanduanes, Wants Additional Flight to Brunei

Unconfirmed reports indicate that Cebu Pacific is planning to upgrade its existing flights from Manila to Virac to a 150-seater Airbus A319 jet in August from the current ATR72 turbo prop aircraft. 

cebu pacific cantanduanes
Copyright Photo: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines was in Virac recently to inspect the airport to determine whether it could accommodate an Airbus A319 aircraft. The aircraft would shorten the flight time to Virac down to just 40 minutes. SkyJet is currently the only jet operator to Virac utilizing a British Aerospace 146 aircraft to serve the destination twice per week from Manila.

Rumours suggest that Nicanor Olonan, Virac Airport Manager, has written to the Community Environment and Natural Resource Office to request a permit to clear the vegetation on the approach path to the airport. A tree was blamed for an aborted landing by a Cebu Pacific pilot on June 17 where the pilot claimed that he was forced to abort as the aircraft's landing gear was in danger of hitting a tree during the downward glide to the runway. The aircraft eventually landed safely following a second attempt but officials from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines insist that the missed approach was more likely due to the pilot being a first-timer at the airport and the abort was to avoid overshooting the runway. 

The validity of the route upgrade to an A319 aircraft is also being questioned as Cebu Pacific is rumoured to be selling their entire fleet of ten A319 aircraft to a company based in the United States beginning March 2013. Meanwhile, SkyJet Airlines intends to restore its weekly service to Virac back up to three weekly flights by next month after unexpectedly cancelling one of the frequencies after the route launched for no apparent reason.

Upgrading the Virac route isn't the only change on the horizon for Cebu Pacific. The airline recently asked the Civil Aeronautics Board to offer the airline an additional flight frequency between Manila and Brunei that was originally allocated to Philippine Airlines. 

The airline would like to add an additional weekly flight to Bandar Seri Begawan from Manila. Bandar Seri Begawan is Brunei's centre of commerce, finance, and government. It is home to the Istana Nurul Iman, the home of the Sultan of Brunei and the largest residential palace in the world. Cebu Pacific currently operates twice weekly to Brunei.

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