Carriers add 21 new routes in Phl
About 21 routes have been added to the portfolio of international flights to and from the Philippines this year as more airlines saw the potential of secondary gateways as viable points of entries for travelers.
Data from the Department of Tourism showed eight new routes were opened by foreign carriers while 13 were launched by domestic airlines.
These new routes added an estimated total of 888,056 regular air seats to the Philippines in 2016.
Among the foreign carriers which mounted more flights to the Philippines were Xiamen Airlines with the Xiamen-Cebu route, Emirates Airlines (Dubai-Cebu-Clark). Eva Air (Taipei-Cebu), V Air ( Taipei- Manila) and China Eastern Airlines (Chengdu-Manila and Chengdu-Cebu).
Silk Air also increased the frequency of its Singapore- Davao trips from seven flights a day to 10 times a day.
National flag carrier Philippine Airlines, meanwhile, added six new routes this year, according to DOT data. These included Manila-Kuwait, Manila-Jeddah, Cebu-Los Angeles, Manila-Doha, Manila-Saipan, Manila-Chengdu and Cebu-Singapore.
Cebu Pacific also announced the launch of Manila- Guam, Manila- Honolulu and Manila-Melbourne flights this year.
Three additional routes were introduced by Air Asia, namely, Manila- Taipei, Cebu- Singapore and Cebu-Taipei.
Tourism Undersecretary for Development Planning Benito Bengzon said secondary gateways have been receiving an increasingly larger share of passengers in recent months.
“This is part of our thrust to disperse tourism activities,” Bengzon said.
Bengzon said this would also mean the infrastructure agencies would have to step up the development of airports.
More charter operators are also signifying interest to fly directly to the Philippines.
DOT route development team head Erwin Balane said charter operators from China were eyeing to fly directly to Cebu, Bohol and Dumaguete.
He also disclosed that some European carriers have also expressed their interest to fly to the Philippines after the team’s participation in the recent World Route Development Forum in China.