CHINA Airlines, Taiwan’s state-owned flag carrier, is set to launch its inaugural direct flight from Cebu to Taipei on Dec. 1, as the carrier eyes a rebound in leisure demand.
The four times per week flight will operate on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
“Cebu will become China Airlines’ second destination in the Philippines alongside the capital Manila,” said David Casey, editor at Routesonline, an aviation data provider.
The carrier originally planned to launch a nonstop Taipei-Cebu service in March 2020, but the route failed to materialize due to the onset of the pandemic. OAG Schedules Analyser data shows that competition will be provided by EVA Air and Starlux Airlines, both of which will be offering daily flights once China Airlines enters the market. Currently, EVA Air flies three times weekly from Cebu to Taipei.
The carrier’s second new route will link Taipei with Chiang Mai in Thailand, the host city for Routes Asia 2023. Flights will begin on Jan. 20, 2023, operating four times per week. Both the Chiang Mai and Cebu will be served using a 180-seat Airbus A321neo aircraft in a two-class configuration.
“China Airlines’ overall passenger flights in the fourth quarter will increase by 30 percent, of which routes to Southeast Asia will increase significantly by 50 percent,” the carrier said in a statement. “In the peak season of the Lunar New Year at the end of January next year, a total of 17 passenger routes in Southeast Asia will be operated, providing Taiwan passengers with multiple options for traveling abroad.”
The airline adds that it remains “optimistic” about the business and tourism market for Southeast Asian routes, and said it expects the Cebu and Chiang Mai services to increase transfer traffic through Taipei Taoyuan Airport. (CSL)