?Open market? for airline firms expected with Cebu Pacific?s entry into

Custodio said they now expect the Philippine Airlines (PAL) and sister
company Air Philippines (Airphil) to also decrease their airfare after Cebu
Pacific dropped its rates for the Manila-General Santos flights by more than
60 percent.

“The airline that would be willing to cut down its profits a little bit more
will certainly take the biggest share of the market,” she told reporters.

Custodio said she expects PAL and Airphil to also launch promotional
gimmicks and try to level their rates with Cebu Pacific’s to help keep their
dominance in the area.

She said this situation happened in a certain city somewhere in Visayas
region where PAL was forced to drastically cut down its rates just to keep
its patrons from transferring to Cebu Pacific.

“PAL’s rate was 10 times higher but it later went down by more than 50
percent because of the tightening competition with Cebu Pacific,” she said.

Cebu Pacific opened on August 29 to Septmber 5 its promotional flight
bookings for the new route at a special rate of P99 per seat, excluding
taxes and fuel surcharges, for travels between Oct. 2 and Dec. 15.

After the seat sale, the budget airline will implement its year-round “Go”
fares promo for the Manila-General Santos flights, which would set the one-
way fare at P868, almost 60 percent lower than the current regular airfare.

According to the company’s website, it presently charges P1,400.68 for taxes
and fuel surcharge. This rate brings the one-way fare for the seat sale to
P1,499.68 and the regular “Go” fare to P2268.68.

Philippine Airlines is presently offering direct return flights daily from
this city to Manila while its sister company Air Philippines is servicing
daily connecting flights from this city to Manila, Iloilo and Bacolod via
Cebu City.

The average one-way airfare of both airlines for the same route reaches at
least P5,200.

Councilor Shirlyn Nograles said a number of regular air travelers from the
city have already booked with Cebu Pacific.

“I don’t have any figures about the bookings but based on the feedback I
received from some residents and businessmen, the turnout of Cebu Pacific’s
initial seat sale was overwhelming,” she said.

Nograles said Cebu Pacific’s afternoon flights was very ideal for
businessmen as it would give them some time to work on some important tasks
before traveling to Manila.

She said some local tuna producers are also eyeing to utilize Cebu Pacific’s
afternoon flights in shipping their products to Manila.

The city, dubbed the country’s tuna capital, ships out more than 10 tons of
fresh chilled tuna a day mainly going to international markets such as Japan
and the United States.

Cebu Pacific, the country’s second largest carrier, earlier expanded its
operations to this city to accommodate its growing patrons from the
Southwestern Mindanao region.

The city will be the airline’s 19th domestic destination and the second in
the region. It opened direct flights last month between Cotabato City and

The airline’s inaugural return flights 5J 995 and 996 for the Manila-Gen.
Santos-Manila route will feature a brand new Airbus A319 acquired earlier
this year.

The flight will leave Manila at 1:35 pm and arrive here at 3:20 pm. While
the flight to Manila leaves General Santos City at 3:50 pm and will arrive
in Manila at 5:35 pm.