Airphil Express is on track to be a major budget air travel player in the Philippines with the launch of the Cebu-Hong Kong route on July 28, 2011. The new flight connection is seen to further boost business and tourism between the two destinations and will strengthen the presence of Airphil Express beyond domestic borders.
Cosmopolitan Cebu province in the Visayas region, which is rich in heritage appeal, attracts domestic and foreign tourists and investments because of good infrastructure and a dynamic export industry, and serves as gateway to some of the world’s most breathtaking shorelines and nature attractions. Hong Kong, host to many thousands of OFWs, remains an important business hub, shoppers’ paradise, and, with the presence of Disneyland and other theme parks, continues to be a favorite destination among Filipinos. The expanded route of Airphil Express redounds to the benefit of passengers who want savings and convenience in their frequent business and pleasure travels.
“The decision to launch the first Hong Kong flight of Airphil Express from Cebu is an acknowledgment of the valuable business that the province brings into the country in terms of trade and tourism,” says Alfredo Herrera, Airphil Express SVP for Marketing and Sales. The addition of the Cebu-Hong Kong route follows the success of Airphil Express’ launch of its international flight to Singapore in December last year. “We believe that Cebu and Hong Kong are key portals and destinations for Filipino and foreign consumers,” Herrera continues. “Opening that route will offer passengers more opportunities for personal and professional connections, and it’s also a chance for the airline to help expand national growth into the Southern region.”
Another company milestone by the end of July is the arrival of a new A320 in addition to the current six Airbuses as part of Airphil Express’ re-fleeting program. The A320 is one of the most modern airplanes today and ensures increased comfort and safety for passengers. The budget airline also maintains three reliable Q300s and five high-speed Q400s for inter-island travel.
The new Cebu-Hong Kong route and the company’s investment in new aircraft are in service of a continuously growing air travel market. While traffic growth from all Philippine carriers remains at double digits this year, the rise of Airphil Express’ market share has been described as “staggering.” From cornering 2.9 percent of the market share during the airline’s pre-rebranding period in 2009, the carrier’s slice of the domestic market in 2010 grew to 11 percent, representing some 1.9 million passengers on its first full year of operations. With its capacity expansion backed by a $250-million re-fleeting program, the airline is predicted to continue yielding the highest growth rates among other Philippine budget airlines over the next years.
Only a little more than a year old, Airphil Express is already redefining the budget category not just in terms of low airfare but also through value-added services like Web Check-In, Seat Selector, Travel Insurance, and Pre-Paid Baggage, as well as travel extras that deliver better quality travel experience.
Manila Bulletin Online