Direct links to LA, Dubai begin March

By: Vanessa Claire Lucero with Mary Claire U. Catado January 06,2016 - 02:41 AM
Visitors enjoy the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, in this January 2015 photo. Disneyland is one of the theme parks near Los Angeles, California. (AP PHOTO)

Visitors enjoy the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, in this January 2015 photo. Disneyland is one of the theme parks near Los Angeles, California. (AP PHOTO)

EVA Air also expected to launch Cebu-Taipei route

At least three international routes will be introduced at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) in March.

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines will introduce on March 15 a direct link between Cebu and Los Angeles (LA), California while Emirates Airlines will begin serving the Cebu-Dubai route on March 30.

Estee Marie Plunket, corporate affairs head of GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC), said the Cebu-LA flights are scheduled every Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Emirates will fly daily from Cebu to Clark to Dubai.

EVA Air, meanwhile, is also expected to launch its Cebu-Taipei service in March, said GMCAC chief executive advisor Andrew Acquaah Harrison.

Harrison said the introduction of these direct links will strengthen Mactan Airport’s position as an international hub.

“We’re very delighted to have been able to achieve our second objective which was to connect to the Middle East,” Harrison said during the 888 news forum.

He also said they were in talks for direct flights to European countries.

The airport operator, which manages MCIA under a 25-year concession agreement, also aims to increase the number of domestic destinations that can be reached through Mactan.

“What we intend to do is position MCIA by providing domestic connectivity so that people don’t have to go to Manila to travel unless they absolutely need to,” Harrison said.

People will be able to fly from Cebu directly to some of these international destinations. We worked very hard with Philippine Airlines and other carriers. Bookings are looking very encouraging,” he added.

He noted that when they took over airport operations in November 2014, there was a 26-percent deficit in terms of the number of flights. He said they have recovered 13 percent of the flights, increasing the passenger throughput by over 1 million passengers.

Last year, the airport was able to open at least four new flights and reinstate eight. To date, the airport is connected to over 22 destinations and more than 12 international destinations.

Meanwhile, Harrison said the MCIA is well-prepared for the Sinulog Festival 2016, which will start on Friday and culminate with a grand parade on January 17, as well as the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) from January 24 to 31.

He assured that no flights will be canceled during the IEC week.

“The airport already has a very high level of security just for day-to-day travel because every airport needs to be highly secure, and we are very satisfied that even the current security arrangements are adequate even for the IEC and for Sinulog,” Harrison said.

Over 15,000 delegates are expected to attend the IEC, although not everyone will pass through the airport.

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