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Thai Airways mulls daily Cebu-Bangkok flights

Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - July 17, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The operator of Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) is in talks with the regional affiliate of Thai Airways International Public Co. Ltd. for the launch of daily flights between Cebu and Bangkok.

In a statement, GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC) chief executive adviser Andrew Harrison said the firm was in discussions with Thai Smile Airways for daily flights from Cebu to Bangkok.

The new service is targeted for launch by November this year.

“Thai Smile is just awaiting regulatory approval,” Harrison said.

If it pushes through, Thai Smile’s Cebu-Bangkok service will be the first and only direct service from Visayas to Thailand with a daily frequency.

It would also become the fifth international route to be launched and made available at the MCIA for this year.

In March, the MCIA welcomed four new flight services.

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines started its flights to Los Angeles in the US from Cebu on March 15.

Other airlines that started flight services at the MCIA in March include EVA Airways for daily flights to Taipei, Xiamen Airlines of China for flights to Xiamen, and Emirates Airlines for services to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Apart from the Cebu to Bangkok service, GMCAC wants to encourage other airlines to fly and offer services to MCIA.

In particular, GMCAC wants flight services from Cebu to Australia, as well as expanded connectivity in China, Japan and South Korea.

In determining new routes, GMCAC is taking into consideration potential demand to and from Cebu as well as other points in the Visayas and Mindanao regions.

The move to attract more international airlines to fly to MCIA is intended to promote tourism and economic growth in the Visayas and Mindanao regions and position the airport as a viable alternative to Manila.

“Cebu has so much to offer as a tourist and investment destination. It has natural beauty, history and culture and a strong emerging economy. This is the experience we want to share with the international market,” GMCAC president Louie Ferrer said.

GMCAC, a joint venture between Megawide Construction Corp. and India’s GMR Infrastructure Ltd., bagged a 25-year concession agreement to build and operate MCIA under the public-private partnership program.

Last year, GMCAC started work on MCIA’s Terminal 2 in order to expand the airport’s passenger capacity to 12.5 to 13 million per year from the current 4.5 million.

GMCAC expects to complete the construction of Terminal 2 by June 2018.

MCIA, which caters to 12 international destinations and 23 domestic destinations, served eight million passengers last year.

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