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Freeman Cebu Business

Air connectivity to drive tourism, export growth

Ehda Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines – Improved air connectivity from Cebu to several destinations in the world will not only boost inbound tourism but will likewise help the logistical requirements of the export sector.

Mactan Cebu Airport operator GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC) president Louie Ferrer yesterday said that the new overseas direct flights will drive inbound tourism traffic at the same time support export services.

"Providing airline and route innovations for the traveling public are keystones of MCIA's transformation," Ferrer said.

He further said that the airport management is connecting Cebu to four major international hubs this month including Los Angeles, Taipei, Dubai, and Xiamen.

"It’s a very exciting time for MCIA, we’re growing our capabilities as a gateway to one of the country’s most competitive regions,” Ferrer added.

Ferrer underscored that this improved connectivity is expected to boost the trade and tourism links of Cebu.

Today, Philippine Airlines (PAL) will officially launch its direct flight to Los Angeles from Cebu, which marks the first US connection out of Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

The Cebu-Los Angeles flights will be thrice weekly. It will depart Cebu every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 6:25 p.m and arrive in LA at 5:55 pm. It leaves LA on the same days at 8:40 p.m and arrives in Cebu at 4:40 a.m.

PAL’s Cebu-Los Angeles route will utilize the A340 that can accommodate 254 passengers. It is equipped with economy and business class seats.

“The direct Cebu-LA flight marks our very first connection to the US. It creates greater travel and trade opportunities for both destinations,” Ferrer said.

GMCAC, which operates and manages MCIA under a private-public partnership model, is actively pursuing potential new airlines and routes targeting destinations like Australia, Thailand, India, Japan, Malaysia and China.

Srinivas Bommidala, Chairman of the GMCAC Board commented that the pursuit of such new and diverse routes for Cebu was supported by detailed economic analysis to ensure the long term sustainability as well as economic and social benefits for passengers and businesses.

Andrew Harrison, GMCAC Chief Executive Advisor noted that the improvements of facilities at MCIA play a big part in attracting airlines with multiple products such as economy and business class, thereby offering travelers more choice in their travel product. Examples of the terminal improvements include the new CIP Lounge operated by Plaza Premium, which airlines with a business class product require.

MCIA is the second busiest airport in the Philippines with the capacity to handle 4.5 million passengers a year and will soon surge to 12.5 million when the new terminal be unveiled by June 2018 to accommodate the continually increasing passenger traffic. (FREEMAN)

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