New foreign airline to serve Cebu-Taipei route

THE Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) continues to get interest from foreign airlines as an expansion hub.

The latest to announce to enter Cebu is Taiwanese startup carrier Starlux Airlines that plans to launch a daily direct flight from Taipei’s Taoyuan Airport starting April 6, 2020, according to Routesonline, a global route development data provider.

Starlux is a newbie airline, with Cebu as its fourth global route, along with Da Nang, Macau and Penang.

Currently, Taipei is Cebu’s fourth top foreign destination with 107 flights per month, according to online flight map provider FlightConnections.

Seoul has remained Cebu’s top global destination, with 401 flights every month. It is followed by Singapore with 132 monthly flights and Busan with 124 flights per month.

Hong Kong and Tokyo are also among the destinations with the most number of flights to and from Cebu at 105 and 92 every month, respectively.

Domestically, Cebu to Manila remains the busiest route with 1,077 flights a month, followed by Davao (308) and Cagayan de Oro (234).

According to FlightConnections, the MCIA is currently connected to 48 destinations in 10 countries, served by 26 airlines.

There are no direct services yet between Cebu and Europe, the US, Canada, Southern America, Central America, the Carribean, Africa, Southern Asia and Central Asia or Oceania.

Emirates is currently the only airline flying non-stop from Cebu to the Middle East via Dubai.

But by April, Cebu’s connection to the Middle East will get a boost as Qatar Airways will resume the Cebu-Doha direct flight.

Passenger traffic at MCIA reached 11.45 million from January to November 2019, up by 11 percent from 10.35 million in the same period in 2018.

MCIA handled a total of 3.85 million and 7.60 million international and domestic passengers, respectively, during the period.

Air traffic volume also rose seven percent to a total of 97,927 flights during the 11-month period.

MCIA operator GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. said that route development initiatives would continue in 2020, as it positions Cebu as a bustling aviation hub.

Edgar Saavedra, chief executive officer of Megawide Construction, earlier said that MCIA’s growth is expected to further thrive this year on the back of the airport’s strategic marketing and improved connectivity. (CSL)