AirAsia formally announced it would be operating Cebu-Taipei and Cebu-Singapore direct flights starting Nov. 25, 2016.
Philippines AirAsia CEO Captain Dexter Comendador said, “We are now targeting support cities outside Manila, mainly Cebu, in order to connect the city with over 120 destinations all over Asia.”
He added that the Philippines has so many attractions and lacks only the infrastructure to enable the tourists to witness these attractions and landmarks.
Elaine Ramirez, press executive assistant at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the Philippines, batted for closer ties between Taiwan and the Philippines due to the proximity between both countries.
“Taiwan is located right at the heart of Asia. The booming economies of Taipei and Cebu can only mean huge tourism returns for both cities,” she declared at a press gathering held at Vikings Buffet, SM City Cebu.
To celebrate the launch, AirAsia is offering promotional fares as low as PhP888 for a travel period from Nov. 25, 2016 to Mar. 25, 2017. Promotional fares are available up to Nov. 23, 2016 only.
Flight Z2 7124 leaves the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) at 6:35 a.m. every Wednesday and 6:10 a.m. every Friday and Sunday for the three-hour flight to Taipei.
Another plane, Flight Z2 7125 leaves Taipei every Wednesday at 10:20 a.m., every Friday at 10:10 a.m., and every Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
Department of Tourism head of route development Erwin Balane welcomed the new routes emanating from Cebu while announcing the addition of more new overseas flights.
“We will open the Bangkok-Cebu route soon by Cebu Pacific. There is also the Cebu-Chengdu route by China Eastern Airlines. Also forthcoming by Christmas is the Narita-Cebu route by Vanilla Air, a low-cost Japanese carrier,” he stated.
Regarding the Cebu-Singapore route, Singapore Tourism Board area director for the Philippines Lael Loh said in a statement, “The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) congratulates AirAsia on its newest destination milestone in the Philippines. We are excited by the opening of the new Cebu-Singapore route, which will provide more opportunities for Filipino travelers to discover, experience, and enjoy the multitude of offerings in the Lion City.”
The Cebu-Singapore flight schedule is as follows: Flight Z2 7236 from MCIA leaves at 4:55 p.m. and lands at the Changi Airport at 8:30 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.
From Singapore, Flight Z2 7237 leaves at 9:10 p.m. and lands in Cebu at 12:55 p.m., also on the same aforementioned days.
Apart from Singapore and Taipei, AirAsia announced earlier that it would also increase flights between Cebu and Kuala Lumpur from three to four times weekly effective Oct. 29. AirAsia also services direct flights from Cebu to Incheon in South Korea.
CEO of the Year
Aside from the new flights announcement, AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes was named Airline CEO of the Year at the 2016 CAPA Aviation Awards for Excellence.
This is the third time Fernandes has won the accolade from influential aviation consultancy CAPA-Centre for Aviatio, having also won the award in 2004 and 2005.
“AirAsia has come a long way since I won the first ever CAPA Airline Executive of the Year award in 2004. And in those 12 years, AirAsia has both changed and stayed the same. Back in 2004, the low-cost model was still something new to Asia. We had just embarked on our first two affiliates outside of Malaysia, in Thailand and Indonesia.
We had 17 planes and 1,400 staff, and people were only starting to notice us,” Fernandes said in a statement.
“Since then, we’ve grown into a truly Asean airline with more than 200 aircraft and 17,000 All-stars. We’re the only airline that flies to all 10 Asean nations and, with Fly-Thru, we can connect the whole of Asia Pacific, from Japan, Korea and China to Australia and New Zealand to India and beyond, in just one stop. We even fly as far as Mauritius now. So that’s what’s changed.”
CAPA said Fernandes was selected for the award for successfully steering AirAsia to increased profitability and an improved outlook this year following an “extremely challenging” 2015.
By RICHARD RAMOS