3 Philippine budget carriers seek more seat allocations to Macau

A general view shows casinos in Macau.

Three domestic budget carriers are seeking increased seat allocations to Macau, a joint filing with the Civil Aeronautics Board showed.

The consolidated application was made by Cebu Air Inc., the country's biggest budget airline, as well as its subsidiary Tiger Airways Philippines. Included in the application was rival carrier Zest Airways Inc., a unit of Malaysia's AirAsia Bhd.

Based on the application, Cebu Pacific hoped to secure 1,162 weekly seats. Also, Tiger Airways was seeking 1,260 weekly seats, while AirAsia Zest was eyeing 720 weekly seats.

The petition has been scheduled for hearing on July 30, the CAB said.

The move comes after the Philippines and Macau sealed a new air deal last month, increasing weekly seat entitlements between them.

CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla said that, under the new air agreement, weekly seat entitlements would increase from 4,500 to 7,020.

Currently, Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air and AirAsia Zest regularly fly to Macau.

Arcilla also noted previously that developments in Macau-a special administrative region in China and a global gaming hub-could also draw Filipino visitors and workers.

"It is envisioned that the current infrastructure projects in Macau that would connect [it] by land to Hong Kong and other nearby Chinese cities, would increase the catchment area of Macau and therefore expand market opportunities," Arcilla said. "The new infrastructure projects in Macau will also increase requirements for Filipino workers."