MANILA, Philippines – Budget carrier Cebu Air Inc. on Monday launched its first long-haul flight from Manila to Dubai.

Cebu Pacific president and chief executive officer Lance Gokongwei said said the airline is aiming to replicate its success in short-haul regional and domestic operations.

“We proudly carry the Philippine flag in this historic moment. When we say we fly to where Filipinos are, we mean it. This was our mindset when we launched our first international flight to Hong Kong in 2001. This remains our mindset as we launch our 22nd international destination now,”he said.

Cebu Pacific is the first Philippine carrier to fly to Dubai in 15 years. The airline is hoping to tap the OFW market in the United Arab Emirates. In 2012, 259,546 land-based Filipino workers were deployed to UAE.

The Manila-Dubai-Manila route is using Cebu Pacific’s brand-new Airbus A330 aircraft.