CHARTER AIRLINE OPENS CEBU HUB
The tourism industry in Cebu, particularly in the Bantayan Islands in northern Cebu, has gotten a boost with the launching of the Cebu hub of a charter airline that provides access to the islands.
John Gutierrez, Air Juan Airline president, said that they provide travelers with the option of convenient access to the least chartered destinations with their seaplanes, Cessna Grand Caravan – amphibian, and land planes, Cessna Grand Caravan – Ex.
Gutierrez said that by providing access to these least chartered places, this would enhance these towns’ economies with a boost in their tourism industry, expand trade in these areas to the main cities Cebu and Manila, and bring in investors, who would avail of the opportunities with the improved transportation and access.
He was referring to the launching of the Air Juan Aviation’s hub at the Mactan Cebu International Airport on August 1.
Alice Queblatin, president of the Cebu Association of Tour Operation Specialists (CATOS), said the service introduced by Air Juan complement’s local stakeholders’ thrust to promote island and beach destinations in the province.
“Accessibility is a challenge. travel by land (4 hours at least) with boat facilities that are not ideal do not encourage visits,” Queblatin said in a text message.
She said small airlines connect these destinations and are definitely easier to sell.
This would have a positive impact on tourism over all, she added.
Queblatin pointed out that Bantayan already has the rooms, restaurants, and attractions to sustain these arrivals.
Gutierrez described the air service’s land planes as operating like the bigger aircraft except it only carries a maximum of nine passengers on a trip and with an advantage of requiring a smaller area to land and take off.
He also said that the air service’s seaplanes have the same functions as that of the land planes but with an added configuration of being able to land on the water surface being an amphibious craft.
“We don’t want to compete with the big aircraft, but we want to complement as we serve the areas that would less likely be serviced by larger planes,” said Gutierrez.
As the airline started operations in Cebu, its pioneer routes for seaplane trips include going to Kandaya Resort in Daanbantayan, Cebu, and Lakawon Island in Negros Occidental.
The trips via land plane will cover routes going to and from Tagbilaran City, Bantayan Island, Biliran and Maasin City.
Air Juan’s Cebu routes will serve Concepcion, Sicogon, Gigantes, Kalanggaman, Malapascua, Camotes, Panglao, and Anda Islands by the end of August.
Cebu is Air Juan’s third hub after Puerto Princesa in Palawan and Seaplane Dock at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Complex in Pasay City.
The airline started as a provider for chartered flights five years back, and started venturing into scheduled flights in the past three years.