MANILA, Philippines – Gokongwei-owned Cebu Pacific is considering launching flights to Australia and Saudi Arabia within the year, its president Lance Gokongwei said.
Gokongwei said the low-cost carrier is looking to push through with its plans to expand its long-haul operations to Australia before the end of September and to Saudi Arabia within the second half of the year.
There is an estimated 250,000 Filipinos living in Australia.
Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, has the largest population of overseas Filipino workers with more than a million migrant workers.
The airline recently beefed up its fleet to 52 with the arrival of a brand new Airbus A330 aircraft.
The new aircraft landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) over the weekend, with another A330 scheduled to arrive in August.
The low-cost carrier said it will be using five wide-body Airbus A330 aircraft for its long haul operations by the end of 2014.
It currently operates a fleet of 52 aircraft consisting of 10 Airbus A319s, 30 A320s, four A330s, and eight ATR-72 500s.
Cebu Pacific is currently implementing a $4 billion refleeting program to acquire nearly 50 brand new Airbus aircraft.
Eleven more Airbus A320s, 30 A321neos, and two Airbus A330s are expected to be delivered in the next seven years.
In April, the US Federal Aviation Administration (US-FAA) upgraded the safety rating of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) back to Category 1, which allows Cebu Pacific to mount flights to the US.
The budget airline may also fly to London, Paris, and Amsterdam after the Europe ban was lifted last month.
Cebu Pacific is currently serving 60 domestic routes and 34 international routes with a total of 2,231 scheduled weekly flights.