LOW-COST carrier, AirAsia Philippines is expanding Cebu’s connection to China by opening three direct flights this year.
AirAsia Philippines chief executive officer and captain Dexter Comendador announced on Wednesday that the Malaysia-based carrier will begin flying from Cebu to Shenzhen, China daily starting May 9.
He also disclosed two new routes for Cebu to China—daily flights from Cebu to Shanghai this July and a twice a week flights from Cebu to Hangzhou next month. Flight schedules and rates for these two additional flights are still pending approval.
On the local front, AirAsia is also connecting Cebu to Clark four times weekly flights starting May 11. It is currently offering a one-way promo fare at P17 until April 22 for travel period between May 11 and Oct. 26.
Comendador said China is one the biggest markets for AirAsia and that connecting Cebu to this 1.4-billion market would mean potential growth in trade and tourism.
The improved diplomatic ties between China and the Philippines paved the way for airline companies to spread their wings.
“These cities in China have big airports and population,” said Comendador.
Shenzhen is located in the Pearl Rover Delta (PRD) metropolitan area and is one of the major economic hubs of China.
Known as “China’s Silicon Valley,” Shenzhen is home to some of the top startup and technology businesses in the world, including the headquarters of popular global companies such as Huawei, BYD, and ZTE.
AirAsia will depart Cebu at 11:35 p.m. and will arrive in Shenzhen at 2:40 (+1) a.m. Departure at Shenzhen is at 3:45 a.m. and will arrive in Cebu at 6:35 a.m.
The airline is offering an all-in one way promo fare as low as P888 until April 22 for travel dates between May 9 and Oct. 27.
Shanghai, on the other hand, is China’s biggest city and a global financial hub while Hangzhou is an industrial city with many diverse sectors such as light industry, agriculture, and textiles. It is considered an important manufacturing base and logistics hub for coastal China. As for tourism, Hangzhou is renowned for its historic relics and natural beauty.
China overtook Japan as the second top tourist source market for Central Visayas after Korea last year.
Data from the Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 showed that the region welcomed 429,306 arrivals last year, up by 75 percent.
The DOT expects arrivals from China to grow stronger this year, as more airlines mount direct flights to the country.