Seair to mount Manila-Cebu flights-A A +A
By Mia A. Aznar
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
SEEING opportunities in the domestic low-cost market, leisure carrier South East Asian Airlines (Seair) announced the addition of flights from Manila to domestic destinations in the country.
In a press conference yesterday, Seair chief operating officer Patrick Tan announced three daily flights between Manila and Cebu beginning July 31, with a fourth flight pending approval from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB).
With their Cebu operations, the company expects to bring in at least 400 direct and indirect jobs and some 400,000 passengers a year that can contribute to the domestic economy and tourism of Cebu and the rest of Visayas.
Tan said their presence in Cebu is in line with the company’s network expansion for the next two months, which includes cities in Bacolod, Iloilo, Kalibo and Tacloban.
It will be offering flights from Manila to Tacloban, Iloilo, Puerto Princesa, Kalibo, Davao and Bacolod. Internationally, it offers flights from Clark to Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Kota Kinabalu.
Despite their late entry into Cebu, Tan is confident they can compete with more established airlines because of “guaranteed affordability.”
“We have a track record of reliability reflected in our peak on-time performance last year at 92 percent. The training of our pilots and cabin crew is at par with international standards, enabling us to provide passengers with the best inflight experience,” Tan said.
He also assured that they have brand-new aircraft to service their passengers–two Airbuses with three more expected for delivery within the year. Each aircraft has cost the company $30 million.
Tan also said they helped develop Boracay, Batanes and northern Palawan into tourist destinations by being first to offer flights there.
Tan said they have the lowest fares and those that they print have no additional charges.
Tan is confident the change from a leisure airline business model to low-cost budget airline will enhance their passenger experience, saying they are able to concentrate on their core business by outsourcing tasks that are non-core to their airline such as maintenance and ground handling services. Aircraft maintenance is being handling by the engineering department of Singapore Airlines.
Seair has a partnership with Tiger Airways, allowing them to distribute seats through Tiger Airways’ Internet booking system.
In the future, the company has plans to launch routes to Naga, Legaspi, Bohol, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, General Santos and Tawi-Tawi. They also want to be able to offer flights to Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Indonesia.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 05, 2012.