AirAsia starts Cebu-Taipei flights; 10 int’l routes eyed
More new routes from the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) to several cities in Asia will be in operation before the year ends.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) yesterday announced that MCIA would host 10 new international routes, to include additional flights to and from Singapore and direct flights to Taipei (Taiwan), Bangkok (Thailand) and Chengdu (China).
“There is substantial volume of demand (for international flights) here in Cebu. We advised airline companies to expand their hubs to increase revenues,” said Edwin Balane, DOT’s new route development chief.
Last Wednesday, low-cost airline company AirAsia Philippines formally launched its “Explore the Heart of Asia” campaign, which marks the opening of their thrice-a-week Cebu-Taipei flight route.
AirAsia’s Cebu-Taipei flights, to be operational starting on November 25, are scheduled every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
This is the airline’s third international direct flight from MCIA and AirAsia intends to open more international flying routes from Cebu before 2016 ends, said the airline’s communications chief for the Philippines, Jenny Bugarin-Tan.
“We started our hub in Cebu in 2013, serving domestic routes. We observed the potential, growing potential, Cebu has especially that airports in Metro Manila are now congested. And we find it hard to expand there so Cebu is actually the best alternative outside Metro Manila,” added Tan.
She also revealed that the primary reason for launching additional international routes in Cebu was the continued expansion of MCIA.
“We also heard their (MCIA administration) plans to turn (the airport complex) into a hybrid of a resort and a passenger terminal. We saw their progress and Cebu’s potential just grew and grew,” she said.
AirAsia CEO Dexter Comendador, on the other hand, revealed they were now in the process of acquiring 200 more passenger aircraft to cover their expansion program.
“Our Cebu to Taipei airplanes will be Airbus320, which we assessed are appropriate for the changing climate between Taipei and Cebu,” said Comendador.
Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office director Jerry Chwa, who was present in the launching, welcomed AirAsia’s entry into the Taipei route.
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