By Minerva Newman
CEBU CITY – Royal Air Philippines, a new additional airline to offer direct flights to five domestic routes–Manila, Davao, Puerto Princesa, Cagayan de Oro and Caticlan using a 97-seater Avro RJ100 aircraft to serve these destinations with its Cebu-Manila inaugural flight, Tuesday at 9 p.m.
GMR MEGAWIDE Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC) president Louie Ferrer welcomed Royal Air as its newest airline partner, the homegrown airline expands its operations and shares its vision to increase connectivity in the Central and Southern Philippines.
“The launch of Royal Air Philippines is timely as we are now seeing double-digit growth in traffic at the MCIA. We greatly welcome the support of Royal Air and our partner carriers in increasing domestic connectivity from Cebu,” Ferrer said.
Most tourist areas in Visayas and Mindanao are only 25-30 minutes flying time from MCIA and we will continue to push in making Cebu a hub for both domestic and international flights, Ferrer added.
Royal Air Philippines CEO Ed Novillas joined the inaugural flight to Manila Tuesday, as one of the passengers. He said with more aircraft coming in later in the year, Royal Air is ready to open additional routes from Cebu hub.
“Royal Air is serious in expanding our market reach across the southern region; it is one of the many ways we can make the journey pleasant for our customers,” Novillas said.
With the addition of Royal Air, MCIA has now seven Philippine-based and 18 foreign airline partners that connect to 29 domestic destinations and 22 international destinations.
Present during the inaugural Cebu-Manila flight were Capt. Rey Ramos, Royal Air Philippines Vice President for Operation; Aines Librodo, GMR MEGAWIDE Cebu Airport Corporation Head for Airline Marketing and Tourism Development; Ed Novillas, Royal Air Philippines Chief Executive Officer; Meg Obejas, Royal Air Phils., Vice President for Commercial.
For the first quarter of 2019, domestic traffic at MCIA jumped 13 percent to close to two million passengers while international traffic grew almost 10 percent to around one million passengers year-on-year, according to Ferrer.