Efficient int’l airport needed for Cebu Pacific expansion
A more efficient airport in Cebu and the lifting of the US-EU downgrade on the country’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport rating are two crucial factors that would help restore and even raise Cebu’s profile as a prime tourist destination around the world.
Candice Iyog, Cebu Pacific vice president for marketing and distribution, stressed this in a press briefing at the Summit Ridge Hotel in Tagaytay last Saturday.
While Cebu remains one of the top favored destinations by tourists, growth won’t be achieved without a more efficient airport and improved airport rating.
“We don’t require fancy facilities but an efficient one capable of fast turnaround and smoother flights throughout is needed,” said Iyog.
She said the Aquino government should immediately do something also about the country’s airport downgrade.
The US Federal Aviation Administration’s downgrading of the country’s airport rating from Category 1 to Category 2 in 2008 was followed by a similar downgrade from the European Union.
Iyog also said safety issues should be prioritized to enable more aviation industry players in the country to expand and help the country achieve its target of 10 million foreign tourist arrivals by 2016.
“We are expecting delivery of 50 more brand new aircrafts for our expansion until 2021 but we are limited because of those issues. We cannot open new routes in some destinations because of that,” Iyog said.
In the first half of this year, Iyog said Cebu Pacific already saw an increase in domestic and foreign tourists traffic in the country by 18 percent and 15 percent respectively.
“Domestic passage is growing more than foreign travelers. As of now we can add two more domestic flights and six more international flights to Cebu but there’s no definite destination yet,” said Iyog.
Iyog said Cebu Pacific will open the Cebu-Kuala Lumpur and Cebu-Bangkok routes on Dec. 8 and Dec. 9 and Cebu-Busuanga which started last Oct. 4.
“We are expecting to start one long haul route within the year. We are already in talks with different destinations for this expansion but we are waiting for the rights and entitlements to be awarded before we make announcements,” said Iyog.
Cebu Pacific flies to 32 domestic destinations with 60 routes, 19 international destinations with 31 routes and operating over 2,000 flights every week.
Last month, the Coalition of Fourteen Business Chambers and CSOs (civil society organizations) presented a draft tourism roadmap for Cebu.
The draft included a one-stop tourist information and service center, a marketing and promotions plan, a cluster beautification project, and the widening of the Mactan circumferential road and Naga-Carcar road.
Also certified as urgent projects were the Marcelo Fernan tri-level flyover, the preparation of a Metro Cebu Development Master Plan, the Mactan Island Tourism Master Plan, and an update of the Cebu City circumferential road study.
Iyog said Cebu Pacific would also like to participate in the discussions and contribute to the roadmap.
“We will get a copy of the roadmap and give them our suggestions like the need to establish the hard and soft infrastructure as part of the goals,” she said.
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