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Interview Candice Lyog, Vice President – Marketing and Distribution at Cebu Pacific Air

Candice Lyog, Vice President – Marketing and Distribution at Cebu Pacific Air, speaks about the perspective opened by 2015 ASEAN Economic Community to Cebu Pacific and also about plans for a long-haul operation.

How does Cebu Pacific cope with the congestion problem at Manila?

Candice Lyog– It is a serious problem not only for us but for any airline which likes to serve the Manila market. We know that the government is now looking seriously at the issue of improving access conditions to the airport. The Civil Aviation is now planning rapid exit taxiways to speed up aircrafts’ movements. They are certainly also ways to reduce the number of General Aviation’s aircraft. They represent up to 18% of all movements…

Any alternative plans to Manila for Cebu Pacific?

Candice Lyog– Well, we have a small hub operation at Clark Airport. It is difficult to think of it as an true alternative to Manila airport but at least, the airport is ideally located for travellers living in Northern Luzon or in northern suburbs to Manila. We are hopeful that infrastructure at Clark will also be enhanced. Meanwhile, we also want to offer more international and domestic flights from other airports in the Philippines as it will give passengers an alternative to the congested Manila Airport. This explains why we decided to open international flights from Cebu to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur as well as operating a fifth international base in Iloilo to Singapore and Hong Kong… We also foresee more international flights out of Kalibo, which provides the most convenient air access to Boracay.


Are they any other regional airports which could serve to your international expansion?

C.I.– Not for the time being. We pulled out of Davao a few years ago as we found difficult to earn money on international routes, especially as fuel prices are going up. We only maintain now domestic connections to Davao.


Where do you still see potential for regional flights out of the Philippines?

C.I.- Malaysia remains a very good market with Kuala Lumpur likely to welcome more flights to the Philippines. In North Asia, there is still a lot of potential for more flights to Japan. We would love to add a fourth weekly frequency to Osaka –to which we already have traffic rights. Or to fly to other Japanese destinations. Unfortunately, this is not possible for now as Filipino carriers face safety issues. We also see a growing potential out of Indochina. We recently started flying from Manila to Siem Reap and we now study carefully the evolution of the demand in Myanmar.


Why do you want to move also into the long-haul business?

C.I.- You must remember that the Filipino overseas community is one of the largest in the world. They are some 11 million of Filipinos working abroad including four million alone in the Middle-East. The paradox is that seat’s offer is still very limited forcing many overseas workers to do one or two stops on their way home. We then decided that we could target this market. We will receive our first Airbus A330 in June 2013 and a second one in October to serve uniquely a point to point traffic. UAE should be our primary market but we also look at serving eventually Australia, Hawaii and Guam. It will be a very simple product: all economy class with no gimmicks or air transfer facilities…In total, we should integrate in our fleet 4 Airbus A330.

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Luc Citrinot a French national is a freelance journalist and consultant in tourism and air transport with over 20 years experience. Based in Paris and Bangkok, he works for various travel and air transport trade publications in Europe and Asia.