PH low-cost carriers to launch new destinations

MANILA — Cebu Pacific (CEB) and AirAsia Philippines, two of the country’s budget carriers, are set to launch new domestic routes in the remaining months of 2019 including international destinations soon.

CEB spokesperson Charo Lagamon said all is set for their Cebu-Busuanga services on October 27 and Clark-Puerto Princesa route on November 17.

“It has always been the mission of CEB to enable Filipinos to fly and connect more of the Philippines. It’s opportune to connect Palawan with the rest of Luzon and the Visayas,” Lagamon told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Thursday.

She said there is a strong interest for leisure travel and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) in Palawan, which is known as “the last frontier”.

AirAsia Philippines will also launch a twice-daily flight between Manila and Bacolod this month.

The budget carrier would launch services to Zamboanga, Narita in Japan, AirAsia vice chair Sheila Romero announced in a press conference on Wednesday (Oct. 9).

“These routes would be possible as more planes would arrive,” she added.

The company recently launched a Manila-Osaka route, which has now 84 percent load factor, according to chief executive officer Ricardo Isla.

“We are expecting this (load factor) to increase to 90 percent by December,” he added.

Isla also said the carrier is now studying to offer services to other parts of Japan such as Tokyo and Narita, since these are proven profitable to other AirAsia companies.

Philippine branch’s major shareholders, Representative Mikee Romero and wife Sheila, said introducing new routes would mean more tourists to the Philippines.

The Romeros recently bought Antonio Cojuangco’s 15.6 percent shares in AirAsia Philippines, making the couple the majority shareholders with a total of 60 percent stake in the company.

PAL to boost domestic routes

Meanwhile, flag carrier Philippine Airlines will also launch four new domestic routes to increase intra-domestic connectivity.

PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said the new routes, which will start in December are Cebu-Dipolog and Cebu-Zamboanga while Davao-Iloilo route will open in January next year.

Villaluna said PAL would also add frequencies to some of its existing routes in anticipation of “increased demand this Holiday season and thereafter”.

Additional frequencies are scheduled on flights between Cebu-Legazpi; Cebu-Busuanga; Cebu-Butuan; Cebu-Tacloban; Davao-Siargao; and Davao-Tagbilaran. Ma. Cristina Arayata/PNA-