DOT seeks more flights to Philippines by US carriers

Ghio Ong - The Philippine Star
DOT seeks more flights to Philippines by US carriers
Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco on October 2, 2023.
STAR / Ernie Penaredondo

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) has urged US carrier United Airlines to launch flights to more areas in the Philippines.

At a meeting with airline executives, DOT Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco asked the carrier to “explore the viability of establishing direct routes to the Philippines’ secondary gateways, including the Clark International Airport, Mactan Cebu International Airport and the Davao International Airport,” according to a statement from the DOT yesterday.

On Oct. 29, the airline launched direct flights between San Francisco in California and Manila with a “fully booked” Boeing 777-300ER flight that carried 60 passengers in the Polaris business cabin, 24 others in Premium cabin, and 266 more in Economy.

The plane, which flew for 15 hours straight, landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3, according to earlier reports.

“The vision of the President is to expand opportunities beyond our main gateway, which is in Manila. Our push has also been to open up and bring attention to our other gateways,” Frasco said.

She also thanked the United Airlines for launching direct flights to Manila, and for being “confident enough in the volume, and the interest in the fastest-growing economy in Asia.”

United Airlines president Janet Lamkin also thanked the Philippine government for the collaboration, noting the Manila-San Francisco flight was the “most requested route we’ve ever done particularly in the Bay Area.”

Frasco and United Airlines officials met on the sidelines of President Marcos’ visit to the United States, which included his participation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit.

According to DOT data as of Nov. 17, the US is the Philippines’ second top source of tourists with 814,062 travelers or 17.43-percent of international arrivals.

The figure was higher than the 505,089 visitors to the country in 2022, making the US the top source of tourists.

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