As Qatar Airways continues to adjust its schedule for April, the return of its service to Cebu in the Philippines has been deferred once more. The route was initially planned to commence on the 8th of April, but has now been pushed back to the 1st of December 2020.
From April to December 2020
As announced at the Kuwait Aviation Show back in January, Qatar Airways has been planning to bring back its flights from Doha to the island of Cebu in the Philippines, along with seven other new routes.
The original date was set for the beginning of April. However, due to travel restrictions in the Philippines, the launch was pushed back until July this summer. Now, it seems the re-instating of the route, canceled by Qatar back in 2012, shall have to wait even a little longer.
According to Routesonline, the thrice-weekly Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner service to Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) has been postponed from the 8th of April. Flight restrictions due to the declared state of public health emergency in the Philippines first pushed it back until the 1st of July. Now, the new intended date for the return of the service has been logged as the 1st of December this year.
The flight schedule has also been adjusted from the intended 1st of July start: Flight QR-924 will depart from Doha at 08:40. Flight time is estimated at 9 hours and 35 minutes to Cebu. The return flight, QR-925, is scheduled to depart from Cebu at 09:15 and arrive back in Doha at 06:45.
Other route suspensions
The new route would have been the airline’s fourth (or third and a half, depending on how you count) to the Philippines. Although at the moment, only one remains in operation. Since the 1st of April, the Gulf airline operates a once-daily Airbus A350-900 service from Doha to Manila but has suspended all of its six weekly flights to Clark, and its once-a-week Doha-Clark-Davao route.
The route to Clark International Airport been suspended since the 3rd of April but is so far scheduled to recommence on the 1st of June this summer. Its fifth-freedom flight, Doha-Clark-Davao, launched just last year, was halted at the same time, and is set to resume on the 5th of June.
Reconnecting to an old acquaintance
This will not be the first time Qatar has flown from Doha to Cebu. The airline operated the route between December 2003 and March 2012, when it suspended the route citing “rising fuel costs and high operating expenses” as the cause.
As tourist numbers to the area are steadily rising, and MCIA recorded a total of 3.9 million foreign arrivals in the first 11 months of 2019, no wonder Qatar feels it would once more be a profitable route. Let us hope we will all be able to eye new destinations for ourselves, sooner rather than later.