CEBU PACIFIC (Cebu Air, Inc.) will fly direct Manila-Melbourne flights starting Aug. 14, marking its second route from Manila to Australia.

The airline said in a statement that it will operate the route thrice weekly every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

“The launch of our service between Melbourne and Manila will give travelers from Australia seamless connections to other destinations in the Philippines at year-round low fares. This will enable Filipinos living in the Melbourne area to visit their families more often, and encourage more Australian tourists to spend their holidays in the Philippines,” Candice Jennifer A. Iyog, Cebu Pacific vice-president for marketing and distribution, said in a statement.

Cebu Pacific said the Philippines has become one of the fastest-growing tourist source markets for Australia, with an average 16% increase over the past four years, from 70,000 to 120,000.

The airline said that last year, it dominated the passenger market for Manila-Sydney flights during the first five months of the 2017, citing data from the Australian Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport, and Regional Economics, which showed that Cebu Pacific grabbed a 44% passenger market share of the Manila-Sydney route during the period.

“Melbourne is a great city to explore and increased flights will also bring more Australian tourists to the Philippines. This will also be welcome news to a quarter of a million Filipinos who now call Australia home, and the more than 10,000 students who travel there each year,” Amanda Gorely, ambassador of the Commonwealth of Australia to the Philippines, said in a statement.

The airline is focusing on servicing its high-demand Asia-Pacific destinations.

Last year, Cebu Pacific decided to stop its flights to Kuwait, Doha in Qatar, and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia because of increased competition in the said routes. — P.P.C. Marcelo