Philippine low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific Air will be suspending its Manila-Guam route, with its last flight between the Philippine capital and the U.S. territory on Dec. 7, 2019.
In an official statement, the budget airline said that affected passengers are being notified, with options provided to minimize the disruptions from these changes: rebooking passengers on earlier travel dates with Cebu Pacific; a full refund; or placing the full value of the ticket in a travel fund for future use.
The cancellation of the route is being blamed on oversaturation and competition in the market, according to Cebu Pacific Corporate Communications director Charo Logarta Lagamon.
“When we started the route in 2016, we have tried to entice Guamanians and the Filipino community to visit the Philippines via fares that were affordable—as the only Filipino low-cost carrier operating a direct Guam-Manila connection. However, it has come to a point where there is now an overcapacity in the market, with two other carrier plying the same route and, for Cebu Pacific, the route is no longer viable,” she said in an email to Saipan Tribune.
United Airlines and Philippine flag carrier Philippine Airlines also service the Manila-Guam route.
The official statement from the Philippine low-cost carrier, which is a subsidiary of JG Summit Holdings, also said the entry of Cebu Pacific into the Guam market gave the travelling public more choices and a more affordable alternative to fly between these two destinations.
“However, despite all efforts, the Guam route is no longer viable. With limited slots in Manila, Cebu Pacific will reallocate these slots and re-deploy the aircraft to routes where these can serve higher passenger demand,” it said.
Cebu Pacific flies from Manila to Guam and vice versa thrice a week, with promotional rates of as low as $99. It operates an Airbus 320 aircraft on the route, which has capacity of 180 passengers.
When contacted via social message to comment, Anette Garces, a resident of Dededo, said the cancellation of the route would mean fewer trips for her to the Philippines. She said this will have a great impact. Since Cebu Pacific entered the Guam market, people had the option to travel to Manila any time they wanted, Garces said, mainly because of very affordable airfares and more choices on which airline to book.
In her own case, Cebu Pacific’s cancellation would mean more time away from her family in the Philippines.
“Ever since they started their flights to Guam, I would visit my family in Manila three to six times a year. Every time they’d announce a special sale for less than $200, I’ll make sure to buy a ticket so that I can visit my loved ones,” she said.
With the cancellation, she’s looking at flying to the Philippines only twice a year: once for business and one personal.