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Cebu Pacifi c AIRLINES


Having built itself a solid reputation on home turf, Cebu Pacifi c is now well placed for international expansion WORDS: GARY NOAKES


COUNTING BLESSINGS


M


ichael Shau’s elevation to the role of Cebu Pacific chief operating officer in early


2019 comes as the low-cost airline prepares to expand internationally. Shau joined the Filipino carrier in 2007 and oversaw the 2014 acquisition of Tigerair Philippines (now rebranded as turboprop subsidiary Cebgo) in a $15 million deal. Today, Cebu Pacific is the country’s largest airline, with main hubs at Clark and Cebu plus others at Kalibo, Iloilo, Davao and Laguindingan. Cebu Pacific launched in 1996 with


four aircraft. Now it has 72, serving 37 domestic and 26 international destinations. The bulk of the fleet is short-haul Airbus and ATR aircraft, but there are also eight Airbus A330s. In his first major interview following


his promotion, Shau – speaking at Routes Asia 2019 in the airline’s spiritual home of Cebu – outlines where the carrier is going. Cebu Pacific used the event to announce the launch of three new domestic routes from Clark airport, the former US air base 50 miles north- west of Manila. It will launch daily flights from Clark to Iloilo and Bacolod, starting August 9. The LCC will also commence flights between Clark and Puerto Princesa in Palawan from October 9. More ambitiously, a service from


Cebu to mainland China is in final negotiations. Shau confirms plans to operate to China from Cebu, in addition to Manila, were advanced. “We’re definitely looking forward


to starting routes there. But we’re concentrating on the first four that


routesonline.com ROUTES NEWS 2019 ISSUE 2 39


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