In a bold move despite the spiraling fuel cost and incursion of the major carriers, South East Asian Airlines (SEAIR) has announced that flights from Puerto Princesa to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia will be made available to the riding public beginning this month.
This is SEAIR’s first international flight, which also serves as its entry point to the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asia Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) market.
The inaugural flight is scheduled on Nov. 28. The total routing of the operation is Clark-Caticlan (Boracay)-Puerto Princesa-Kota Kinabalu.
The route allows passengers to visit world-renowned destinations in a circuitous route without backtracking and opens up direct flights from Kota Kinabalu to Puerto Princesa and Boracay.
“We believe in tourism as the industry of the future for the Philippines and SEAIR wishes to continue to contribute in the tradition of its pioneering effort that started 14 years and recently was manifested in new services to Tablas, Daet, Baler, Basco and Borongan,” said Patrick Tan, SEAIR vice president for commercial affairs.
This is one of many firsts for SEAIR this coming year. Two new Airbuses are scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2009. With the recent signing of the ASEAN open skies agreement, it is full-speed ahead for SEAIR as it bared plans to operate flights to Singapore, Macau, Incheon, Bangkok and Kaoshiung.
Official records from January to October this year show that more than 35 percent of all flights to Caticlan (Boracay) were via SEAIR. There are currently four local carriers flying to the island paradise.
“SEAIR made 3,511 flights to and from Caticlan. This translates to 635 flights more than our nearest competitor. This service will add further to the connectivity to Boracay with twice-a-week flights direct from Caticlan to Puerto Princesa,” Tan said.
To further boost passenger traffic, SEAIR recently introduced a state-of-the-art reservation system where passengers may avail themselves of the best online deals such as inexpensive fares for definite travel dates (FlySaver) and VIP tickets for those who require a good deal of flexibility on their itinerary (FlyFlex).
Just last month, SEAIR posted record sales for 2008 with 20 percent of the tickets sold online. Online bookings are expected to increase by 250 percent as peak season nears.
The airline uses a fleet of Dornier 328s and LET 410 aircraft. The Dornier 328 is a state-of-the-art, 32-seater twin-engine turboprop aircraft also being used by other airlines worldwide — British Airways, KLM and United Airlines, to name a few.
The 19-seater LET 410 is ideal for small runways and other destinations where bigger planes could not land.
SEAIR has now flown almost three million passengers to 12 local tourist destinations: Manila; Caticlan and Borongan in the Visayas; Basco in Northern Luzon; Baler and Clark in Central Luzon; Tablas in Southern Luzon; Daet in Bicol; Busuanga in Palawan; and Jolo, Tawi-Tawi and Zamboanga in Mindanao.
For reservations or inquiries, log on to www.flyseair.com or call 849-0100.