CEBU PACIFIC said it will start offering direct flights between Manila and Shenzhen next month to cater to the growing number of travelers that want to connect to China.

The Gokongwei-led carrier said in a statement Monday it will launch its commercial service between the two cities on July 1, which will fly every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

“The new route is in line with the carrier’s plans to expand its route network in China to cater to increasing demand for leisure and business travel,” it said.

Shenzhen will be Cebu Pacific’s fifth destination in mainland China.

“Shenzhen, located in Guangdong Province, is part of the booming Pearl River Delta megalopolis. Shenzhen has a continuous development of rail and road links to other cities within the region, including a branch road that connects to the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge,” it said.

The carrier earlier said there is “a lot of interest” from China to connect to the Philippines, and it wants to tap that market by opening routes connecting to China’s secondary cities.

“We want to provide our travelers a viable option to reach some of the most crucial commercial centers in the world. Our new direct service between Manila and Shenzhen will enable faster movement of people and products providing increased mobility and access in some of the fastest-growing economies in the world,” Cebu Pacific Vice- President for Marketing and Distribution Candice Jennifer A. Iyog said in the statement.

Aside from Shenzhen, Cebu Pacific has flights to mainland China through Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Xiamen. It also has routes linking to Hong Kong, Macau and Taipei.

The operator of Cebu Pacific, Cebu Air, Inc., grew its net income by 138.4% to P3.43 billion in the first quarter, driven by a growth in passenger volume and higher average fares. — Denise A. Valdez