Philippine Airlines builds up Cebu hub

CITING Cebu as important market, flag-carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) launched Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022 new regional and domestic routes from Cebu starting December as it anticipates boom in travel this holiday season and onwards.

“Philippine Airlines hopes to build up Cebu as the Queen of Gateways, strategically positioned as the ideal gateway to the tourist islands and provincial economic centers of the Visayas and Mindanao, and beyond to Northern Luzon and Palawan,” said PAL president and chief operating officer Capt. Stanley Ng during a press conference at Cebu’s Radisson Blu hotel.

From Mactan Island in Cebu, Philippine Airlines will offer more than 200 weekly flights to 19 destinations, comprising 17 cities in the Philippines as well as Bangkok and Tokyo.

“We are building up the Cebu hub. Reconnecting MCIA (Mactan-Cebu International Airport) will be a game changer in the revival of the country’s tourism sector,” said Ng.

New routes

Starting Dec. 1, PAL will mount twice weekly direct flights between Cebu and Cotabato City.

The flights will be part of a one-stop service between Cebu and Tawi-Tawi.

PR 2223 Cebu-Cotabato flies every Monday and Thursday, departing at 5:20 a.m, arriving in Cotabato’s Awang Airport at 6:35 a.m while PR 2224 Cotabato-Cebu flies every Monday and Thursday, departing at 11 a.m, arriving in MCIA at 12:15 p.m.

PR 2487 Cebu-Tawi-Tawi flights depart Cebu at 5:20 a.m. every Monday and Thursday and land in Tawi-Tawi at 8:30 a.m. after a stop in Cotabato. PR 2488 Tawi-Tawi - Cebu flights depart from Tawi-Tawi at 9 a.m and fly via Cotabato to arrive in Cebu at 12:15 p.m.

On Dec. 9, PAL will reopen direct flights between Cebu City and Bangkok with a twice-weekly service slated every Monday and Friday using 199-seater Airbus A321 aircraft.

PR 738 Cebu-Bangkok flies every Monday and Friday, departing at 9:30 a.m. while PR 739 departs Bangkok for Cebu every Monday and Friday at 1:30 p.m.

On Dec. 16, PAL will kick off direct flights between Cebu and Baguio, the Summer Capital of the Philippines.

PR 2230 Cebu-Baguio will operate every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, departing MCIA at 8:50 a.m. and arriving at Baguio Loakan Airport at 10:50 a.m.

PR 2231 Baguio-Cebu will operate every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday-departing Baguio at 11:10 a.m, arriving in Cebu at 1 p.m.

On Dec. 19, PAL will offer direct twice weekly services between Cebu and Borongan City, the surfing capital of the Visayas.

PR 2651 Cebu-Borongan flies every Monday and Friday, departing at 11 a.m. arriving in Borongan Airport at 12 noon.

PR 2652 Borongan-Cebu flies every Monday and Friday, departing at 12:30 p.m, arriving in MCIA at 1:30 p.m.

“Our goal is to revitalize domestic travel and economic development by leveraging the strength of the Queen City of the South and enhancing its connectivity to all corners of the nation,” said Rabbi Ang, officer-in-charge/president of PAL Express. “This is a vital step in support of the government’s thrust to revitalize Philippine tourism and the national economy.”

The Cebu-Bangkok route is an addition to PAL’s existing international flight between Cebu and Tokyo.

“We are seeing a comeback for tourism in the Asean region, and our revival of Cebu-Bangkok flights gives us the chance to grow the Philippines-Thailand passenger market and strengthen bilateral ties,” said Ng.

PAL is also assessing the planned resumption of other flights out of Cebu which were temporarily halted at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Specifically, it is considering the resumption of direct flights between Cebu and other cities in Japan. Also under discussion is the possible restoration of the Cebu- Singapore route.

The airline is also ramping up flights on other domestic routes to and from Mactan, Bacolod and Caticlan (Boracay) seeing additional frequencies in time for the busy holiday season. (KOC)