Business chiefs in Cebu have written to Qatar Airways to urge it to reconsider plans to suspend flights to the Philippines province from March 26.

The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) has made an appeal to the Gulf airline, saying its withdrawal would have "adverse effects" on the local economy.

In his letter to Qatar Airways’ Cebu commercial manager Mohammed El Emam, CCCI president Samuel L Chioson said the Doha-Cebu service, which started in 2003, had helped increase investments and tourist arrivals in Cebu, according to a report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer published on Friday.

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“We understand the factors that triggered Qatar Airways to suspend its flights to our island, but we are in dire need of the services of your airways to connect us directly to and from [the Middle East],” Chioson is quoted as saying.

Qatar Airways last month announced its decision to stop serving the Cebu-Doha route from March 26 due to “commercial reasons", citing high fuel prices and operating expenses. The airline served the route three times weekly.

Last month, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker also warned that the airline will re-consider flying to the Maldives if airport operator GMR goes ahead with plans to raise airport handling fees at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) by 51 percent.

The Gulf state's flagship carrier said it was "dismayed" to learn of the Male International Airport operator's plan, adding that the increase would "threaten Qatar Airways' continued presence in the Maldives".