CEBU CITY, January 24, 2004 (STAR) C‘EST CEBU By Honey Jarque Loop - Cebu has become Qatar Airways’ 48th international destination with its inaugural flight to the city recently, reconfirming its ongoing commitment to increase services to the Philippines.

"We are pleased that we can extend our global network to this country with this new thrice-weekly flights to Cebu," proclaimed Qatar Airway’s general manager commercial Mohamed Saleh Fakhri during the welcome rites at the Mactan Cebu International Airport. "For the large expatriate Filipino community that resides in the Gulf, we can now offer a direct flight home to the southern Philippines."

Filipinos from the islands can now access the rest of the world through Qatar Airways’ growing network across the Far East, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

They will be able to travel in style in new aircraft that boast of the latest in-flight services. The award-winning airline has been voted as having the best cabin crew in the Middle East by independent international surveys.

Qatar Airways is the first airline in the world to pass the new International Air Transport Associations Operational Safety Audit, with a 100 percent compliance.

On hand to welcome the airline officials, who included Marwan Koleilat, regional manager for the Far East; Ali Al Rais, regional manager for Gulf, Yemen Iran and Central Asia; Fathi Shehab, regional manager for Qatar and Africa; and Mario Hatchem, area manager for the Philippines and Micronesia, were Cebu Governor Pablo Garcia, Cebu Vice Mayor Michael Rama, Lapu-Lapu Vice Mayor Norma Patalinghug, Mactan International Airport general manager Angelo Verdan and a host of others.

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Cebu Pacific general manager Danilo Mojica, together with reservations director Veronica Lim and corporate communications manager Viveca Singson, breezed into town to launch the electronic ticketing system that will provide passengers with convenience in bookings, flexibility in changing flight schedules, a choice of several payment options and additional security.

Product development director Lisa Henson pointed out that passengers who avail of this new program will now have the choice to fly without a ticket, with only a transaction receipt that has earlier been faxed, e-mailed or issued over the counter.

Lim further explained, "When you lose a traditional ticket, it is non-replaceable or refundable. However, with an e-ticket, your document is electronically stored in the airline’s computer systems, so there’s no such thing as losing your ticket. A lost transaction receipt can be replaced by simply calling the office or going to its website at www."

For easier settlement of payments, passengers can use either a credit card, Equitable PCI Bank’s Fastphone, Fastnet (Internet), Fasteller facilities or pay at any Cebu Pacific ticket office.

"Cebu Pacific is introducing this innovation here in Cebu because it will benefit the passenger’s reservation and make the actual flying more convenient. It will likewise benefit Cebu Pacific by reducing our paperwork and make our ticketing procedure more efficient," acknowledged Mojica.

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Before the holiday’s multi-colored lights covered the entire city like it has never done before, Jenny Franco, Cebu chapter president of the National Association of Independent Travel Agencies Philippines (NAITAS), invited an intimate gathering of friends and associates from the travel industry on a just-after-sunset cruise around the bay to admire the sight one more time. The result from a distance was awesome!

Birthday boy Bobby Joseph, NAITAS national president, who flew in for the occasion, had no inclination regarding the duo celebration.

It was a night of surprises, and more surprises as the hours went by.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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