MANILA, Philippines – Gokongwei-led Cebu Pacific is seeking approval from government to mount flights to New Zealand.
The budget airline has filed an application with the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) for designation as the country’s official carrier to New Zealand.
The airline is also seeking the allocation of entitlements for seven weekly flights.
The Philippines and New Zealand recently reached an agreement to increase the number of seats and expand freedom traffic rights between the two countries.
Both countries entered an air pact to increase the frequency entitlement to 21 flights per week from the current three flights per week.
The pact also resolved to improve the fifth freedom exchange, which allows Philippine carriers to operate fifth freedom to Australia, while New Zealand can use fifth freedom to fly to China.
Fifth freedom rights refer to the airline's right to fly passengers to a third country from a country with which an airline's resident country has an outstanding air services agreement.
Cebu Pacific’s application came following the Category 1 status upgrade from the US Federal Aviation Administration (US-FAA), which will open doors for more Philippine flights to the US.
The European Union also recently lifted the ban imposed on Cebu Pacific.
Cebu Pacific president Lance Gokongwei said the airline is studying routes to Hawaii and Guam in the US as well as London, Paris and Amsterdam in Europe.
Gokongwei also earlier said the airline will take delivery of about 50 more Airbus aircraft until 2021 to cater to more routes and frequency of key flights.
Cebu Pacific, which has entered into a strategic alliance with Tiger Airways Philippines, currently operates over 2,200 flights per week with 49 aircraft to 24 international and 33 Philippine cities while Tigerair Philippines currently operates about 118 flights per week with five aircraft to 11 domestic and international destinations from Manila and Clark.