April 2, 2012
It primarily came as a shock to me when I found out from a friend’s Facebook status that Qatar Airways has ceased its Doha – Cebu flights right after I posted my blog about KLM ceasing its direct flight to Amsterdam from Manila (click here for that blog).
After doing some reading on-line, the last Qatar Airways Doha – Cebu flight ceased on March 26, 2012.
This news tidbit made me sad, primarily because I am Cebuano. The ceasing of this route will not only affect the tourism industry of Cebu City but, that of the entire Visayan and Mindanao region as well. Secondly, this will create a huge impact to Overseas Filipino Workers who work in The Middle East; this means more costly air travel and longer travel time.
Most travelers find it rather difficult to travel to the Philippine Islands because there are no direct flights available. Unlike Bali, Bangkok or Hong Kong which are serviced DIRECT by hundreds of airline companies, when a traveler wants to visit the Philippine Islands, one must always have to arrive via Manila**** then take one of the local carriers to get to the islands.
What most travelers and tourists detest the most is having to spend longer flying time than actual vacation time. That’s why the Philippines takes a back seat, putting it under the radar.
So what is the government doing? …
Anyway, out of curiosity, I went to www.qatarairways.com and tried to go through the process of booking a faux flight to Rome via Doha from Cebu from September 1, 2012 to October 1, 2012. Well, there are still flights available but it involves more plane changes.
Before catching my “supposed” flight to Rome from Doha, I would have to fly on a Code Share flight either from Cebu to Manila via Philippine Airlines OR fly from Cebu to Hong Kong via Cathay Pacific before hoping on a Qatar airways flight bound for Doha.
If I were to choose which flight to take, it would be the Cebu – Hong Kong flight. Primarily because Hong Kong International Airport has a train service that shuttles people from one terminal to another. BUT if I will take the Cebu – Manila flight, I will have to go through the stress of changing terminals in Manila especially when you only have a 3 hour transit time in between flights. Remember, all terminals in Manila are not connected by a railway transit system. If you need to transfer terminals, you need to take a shuttle service and go through traffic to get to NAIA terminal 1. Not a good idea to get stuck in traffic while in transit.
Transit time between flights vary from as little as 3 hours to as much as 17 hours. The shortest travel time from Cebu to Rome (including transit time) would be a little over 24 hours; the longest is at a little over 27 hours. The shortest travel time from Rome to Cebu (including transit time) would be a little over 26 hours; the longest is over 41 hours. Then again, travel time vary according to the dates you travel. Since the “faux” dates I chose is coming into the low season, fewer flights are available.
I hope that Qatar Airways will rekindle their Cebu route in the future. I’m sure they won’t turn a blind eye to a wonderful 9 year relationship they had with my city.
Daghang salamat ug hinaut unta na mu balik ka.
**** Click here to know which airline serves Manila.
Kalibo*, Cebu** and Davao*** are serviced by a handful of international flights.
*Click here to know which airline serves Kalibo.
** Click here to know which airline serves Cebu.
*** Click here to know which airline serves Davao.