Tiger Airways buys SEAIR stake

Infuses $6 million capital to the airline

February 25, 2011

Manila - Singapore based budget carrier Tiger Airways said Thursday that it is set to buy a 32.5 percent stake in Philippine leisure carrier South East Asian Airlines as it strengthen its foothold in the country's aviation market.

The carrier will be purchasing from the share of Seair's co-founders Iren Dornier and Nick Gitsis, who will thereafter hold a combined 7.5% stake in airline.

A majority 60% stake of the airline will still be held by local investors, says a Seair official. They belong to Olma Inocentes, Tommy Lopez and Gaye Olivares.

The $6 million investment in SEAIR will give Tiger Airways a foothold in a potential high-growth market, its chief executive and president Tony Davis said in a joint statement.

"The Philippines represents a major market opportunity for low cost airlines," Davis said.

"With more than 7,000 islands, a population in excess of 90 million, plus another 11 million working and living abroad, the Philippines is an important market for both international and domestic aviation."

SEAIR President, Avelino Zapanta, said that Tiger's planned acquisition of a significant stake in the airline would be used to acquire more airbus planes to enable it to expand its international and domestic services.

“We are delighted that Tiger Airways wants to become a significant shareholder in Seair. Seair has a long history of operating domestic and international services in the Philippines and having Tiger Airways as a shareholder will enable us to expand significantly our network of services,” Zapanta said in a statement released by Tiger Air.

The airline regularly flies from Manila-Clark to Singapore and Hong Kong, using a leased Airbus 319 aircraft from Tiger. It plans to double its Hong Kong service to twice-daily from April 15 to meet strong demand.

The company however hit a snag when it failed to launch a three times a week flight to Macau on February 14 due to some administrative concerns from the Philippine Aviation Authorites.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Macau (AACM) already received the application from Seair and has requested its counterpart in the Philippines for additional information which did not came on time, says its spokesman.

“According to our internal procedure, we have requested the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to provide additional information for our examination and it is still pending. Therefore, the application is still under progress.”

The airline earlier sought government approval to mount charter flights to Taipei but again hit a snag on some administrative issues forcing one of its airbus plane to be grounded in the meantime. Seair lease 2 Airbus 319 for its proposed destinations.

Seair is mulling to expand its domestic operations this year to major points in the country.

CEB Bags Friendliest LCC in Asia

February 23, 2011

Philippine Low Cost Carrier Cebu Pacific, bagged the Friendliest LCC Award at the Low Cost Airlines World Asia-Pacific Conference held in Singapore recently, besting other contenders Air Arabia, Air Asia, Jetstar Asia, SpiceJet and Spring Airlines.

Voted on by aviation industry professionals and LCC executives in the Asia-Pacific region, the Friendliest LCC Award recognizes the low-cost carrier with the low fares and overall great service.

“The airline has always been renowned for delivering a very Filipino brand of hospitality, and a very Cebu Pacific brand of fun. Passengers not only enjoy our trademark low fares, but also our convenient travel products, payment center options and extensive flight network,” said CEB VP for Marketing and Distribution Candice Iyog.

“CEB is also the only carrier offering Fun Games on board, so our guests not only reach their destinations safely and on time, but they also have fun getting there. We have heard a lot of positive feedback from first-time fliers, groups of friends and family members because of our games,” she said.

CEB also won an Anvil Award of Excellence at the 46th Anvil Awards last February 18, 2011, for the Cebu Pacific Media Backpacker’s Challenge.

“We are also very happy that our Facebook and Twitter accounts have more than 100,000 fans and followers each, surpassing other low-cost carriers in Asia. CEB encourages passengers to be a fan or follower to be the first to know Cebu Pacific’s seat sales and promos,” said Iyog.

As of February 22, 11:30am, CEB’s Cebupacificair Twitter account has 109,569 followers, more than AirAsia’s 106,885 followers. The airline also has 118,099 Facebook fans, and launched its own YouTube channel last week via www.youtube.com/user/Cebupacificair.

CEB currently operates the youngest aircraft fleet in the Philippines with 10 Airbus A319, 15 Airbus A320 and 8 ATR-72 500 aircraft. By the end of 2011, CEB will be operating a fleet of 37 aircraft – with an average age of less than 2.5 years – one of the most modern aircraft fleets in the world. Between 2012 and 2014, Cebu Pacific will take an additional 16 Airbus A320 aircraft.

Cebu Air Inc. is the largest carrier in the Philippine air transportation industry, offering its low-cost services to more destinations and routes with higher flight frequency within the Philippines than any other airline.

Zest Air firms Triple Seven

To Fly Bahrain and Dammam

February 17, 2011

Zest Airways is bent to fly an all-economy Boeing Triple Seven to the Middle East by third quarter of this year if the Chief Executive Officer has its way.

"We are negotiating with the lessors and we already applied for the rights to fly there" says Alfredo Yao, on the Boeing 777-200 plane, as it expects rise in passenger volume and growth in traffic which the International Air Transport Association (IATA) projects the Philippine domestic travel market to grow by 10.2 percent every year on average until 2014.

Zest Air is expecting delivery of two brand new Airbus 320's from Toulouse in April as part of its fleet expansion which comprises six Airbus 320's and four Modern Ark 60s. It recently bought an Airbus 320 and leased another one in December last year.

Yao said that they planned to end the year with at least 10 Airbuses as it expects revenues to rise significantly this year as it beefs up fleet and increases flights.

Already, the airline has posted a 40.98% growth in domestic flight passengers to 1.23 million from 872,223.

“We are looking at over 2.5 million passengers this year from around 1.5 million passengers we handled in 2010,” Yao said.

The airline will launch regular daily flights between Kalibo and Beijing by the end of February or early March, and looks for Taipei, Palau, Singapore, Bahrain and Dammam as its future destinations.

“For the meantime, we will be focusing on China. We want to get at least a portion of tourists coming out of China,” says Yao of the 50 million tourists the country has.

He said flights from Kalibo to Incheon, Korea and Shanghai were getting good load factors.

“We are also expecting a boost in revenues to P7 billion to P8 billion this year as a result of our continued expansion locally and regionally.” added Yao.

Last year alone, domestic passenger traffic grew by 12.27 percent, according to the Civil Aeronautics Board. More than 16.5 million people were on domestic flights for the year, higher than 14.75 million in 2009.

Aviatour to buy Seaplanes

As Charter flights grew 25%

February 13, 2011

Cebu-based aviation school has been growing leap and bounds as its charter business grew 25% of its previous figures reported last year.

FoBinky C. Veniegas, senior marketing director of Aviatour, said the 25 percent increase in chartered flight tours are mostly bound to Bohol using non-conventional transport to Central Visayas' main tourist destinations.

Veniegas said their clientele consists mostly of married couples from South Korea, Europe and the US on their honeymoon who wish to visit such places as Olango Island, Bohol and white-sand beaches like those in Bantayan Island.

Aviatour offers three tour options which costs P3,000 to P7,000 per person. The first tour package covers a trip to Olango and nearby islands while the second package covers a tour of the Chocolate Hills in Bohol and Olango Islands.

“The third option which is the most expensive at P7,000 per person will take them to Panglao Island, Chocolate Hills and Olango Islands,” she said. On a busy day they get 20 tours with a minimum of two tours on slow days.

Aviatour currently flies to the following destinations from Cebu with the following rates:

* Tagbilaran, P2,095
* Bantayan, P2,454
* Maasin, P2,454
* Camotes, P1,736
* Siargao, P5,087
* Guiuan, P5,087
* Dipolog, P4,728
* Camiguin, P3,771
* Caticlan, P6,823
* Tacloban, P3,771
* Surigao, P4,190
* Masbate, P5,506

She said they would upgrade their fleet to include seaplanes this year and send their pilots to the US for additional training.

“Some people don't like to line up in the airport and some also wants to transport products especially in areas with less airline companies servicing. We see this as another growth area for us as well,” Veniegas added.

Aviatour operates one of the largest fleet of Cessna 152 and Cessna 172 aircraft in the Philippines.--- with reports from PDI cebu

ANA flight Begins March 1

As Japanese Traffic Grows 10%

February 12, 2011

Japan's second biggest carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA), will have an inaugural flight on February 27, with daily flights starting on March the first from Narita to Manila and vice versa using a Boeing 767-300 equipment.

Currently, there are four airlines flying to Japan accounting to a combined 61 weekly flights to the Philippines with Philippine Airlines (PAL) holding the biggest share at 32 flights a week, followed by Japan Airlines for 14, Delta Air Lines for 12 and Cebu Pacific for 3.

But for Narita - Manila service, Japan Airlines has the biggest market share with two flights daily, followed by Delta Airlines and PAL. With the arrival of ANA, there will be a total of 34 weekly flights out to Narita airport, followed by Nagoya with 12 (Delta & PAL), 10 out of Osaka (PAL and Cebu Pacific) and 5 out of Fukuoka (PAL).

The Japanese traffic represent a weekly capacity of 18,071 seats with Japan remaining the third largest tourist market for the Philippines.

Tourists arrival grew 10.39 percent from 2009 to 358,744 visitors in 2010.

Aviation boss opts to skirt Civil Service

Ano ba talaga Kuya?
By Eric B. Apolonio

February 9, 2011

THE newly appointed head of the Civil Aviation Authority said Monday he will ask President Benigno Aquino III to intervene in the appointment of seven of the agency’s key officials, and after the Civil Service Commission disapproved their having been recommended by Transport and Communications Secretary Jose de Jesus.

“We will ask President Aquino to appoint the seven officials by way of going around the [Civil Service] restrictions,” Aviation Authority Director General Ramon Gutierrez said.

The commission in December told Mr. Aquino that De Jesus had no authority to appoint people to the Aviation Authority.

Only the agency’s director general had the authority to make appointments there except for two deputy director generals, key staff in the technical positions, and the heads of services and groups, and their appointments were subject to the agency board’s approval, the commission said.

Later, the commission said that the Aviation Authority’s director general aside, “the only appointing authority at the CAAP, … from the lowest to the highest position[,] is the President of the Philippines.”

De Jesus in November appointed seven people to key posts in the Aviation Authority while it was still being led by Alfonso Cusi.

They were Ramon Gutierrez, deputy director general for Administration; Napoleon Garcia, deputy director general for Operations; Wilfredo Borja, assistant director general II for Air Traffic Services; Andrew Basallote, assistant director general II for the Air Navigation Service; Edgardo Costes, assistant director general II for the Aerodrome Development and Management Service; Wilson Mirabona, assistant director general I for the Aerodrome Development and Management Service; and Andres Laurilla, assistant director general I for Civil Aviation Training.

Borja and Basallote had already been serving as Cusi’s immediate deputies, while the rest were newcomers.

ATM Project, a white elephant in the making?

Existing control center can do job

February 8, 2011

Besides being expensive, the Japanese-funded air traffic management (ATM) project of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) was hit for allegedly being “flawed,” “futile” and “redundant” since existing air traffic facilities can very well handle the anticipated increase in international and domestic flights in the next five years.

Airport sources have said that the Communications, Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) System Project worth P13 billion should be quashed because the existing Manila Air Control Center (MACC) can still effectively manage air traffic.
At the most, the sources added, an upgrade of the MACC should be undertaken.

Questions on the propriety of the CNS/ATM project came after the DOTC awarded Package 1 of the project to Sumitomo/Thales Joint Venture on December 23, 2010.

This phase costs P4.2 billion. 

Thales is reputed to be the world leader in ATM systems and civil radars and has a 70-percent market share in the navigation aids market.

The CNS/ATM project has seven major components—the construction of the air traffic management automation, communications, navigation, surveillance, meteorological system, consulting services and land acquisition.

It aims to achieve greatest operational flexibility, airspace capacity and system efficiency.

The losing bidders were Marubeni Corp. (Indra Systemas), Selex Sistemi-Kanematsu Cor. Joint Venture and Sojitz Corp. (Rayheon Corp.).

The scope of Package 2, which is yet to be awarded, includes the installation of an Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Ground Station, En-route Radar (Secondary Surveillance Radar Mode-S), Terminal Radar (Airport Surveillance Radar/Secondary Surveillance Radar), VHF Terminal and Remote Control Air-Ground (RCAG) Communications facility, Microwave link and Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT).

White elephant
Officials from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAAP) who spoke on condition of anonymity, however, said that instead of embarking on a “complex” project, the DOTC should just put the newly upgraded MACC into action.

CAAP insiders said that the MACC, at a fraction of the cost of the new CNS/ATM with almost the same functionality, is ready for commissioning.

This was echoed by an executive of the company that constructed the new MACC.

During an interview with The Manila Times, he said that the government constructed the new MACC to replace the 13-year-old MACC at a cost of only P290.8 million.

But the executive pointed out that the proponent has been waiting since June 3,2010 for the CAAP to commission the project.

“Even though they completed the project, it’s going to be a white elephant.

Something that you don’t need the capacity,” the source said, stressing that CAAP does not even have the controllers to operate the CNS/ATM, which is “very complex.”

“We have deficiency in controllers, that’s why the new MACC is yet to be fully operational,” the source noted.

CAAP at present has about 65 controllers monitoring the 13-year-old ATM.

The current system that it uses only relies on three consoles or work stations that could handle the north, south, east and west sectors of about 1,000 flights a day.

“Four years from now, what will happen? The CNS/ATM is not going to solve the problem in Philippine aviation,” the source further stressed.

The consortium that won the contract for the new MACC include Revere Construction and Supply, CS Soft Inc. and Enhanced Electronics and Communications Services Inc.

The design of the new MACC is based on current technology as prescribed by the latest Eurocontrol and International Civil Aviation Organization requirements for automation.

It has 12 consoles that can monitor up to 4,000 flights and beyond a day.

Under Package 1 of the CNS/ATM project, latest generation Eurocat ATM systems will be used nationwide, together with an integrated Digital Voice Control System, Aeronautical Information System, Automated Message Handling System, ATN Router, GNSS monitoring and metrological systems.

In addition, a completely new ATC operations center will be constructed, which will house the new systems and consolidate the current Manila Area and Approach Control Centers into one facility.

Redundant, ambitious
In a letter to Glicerio Sicat, DOTC undersecretary for air and rail transportation, “concerned CAAP personnel” said that “the project encompasses ambitious upgrade in all fronts of CNS/ATM, all to be implemented within 3 years even if traffic is not that much.”

The letter added that the current traffic in the whole Philippines is only 1,000 a day and growth of significant levels in the future will come mostly from domestic carriers.

Citing a forecast from the International Air Transport Association, the CAAP personnel said that international traffic will be a “relative slow growth.”

“This means more flights will demand more air traffic services in Visayas and Mindanao, which in turn will demand better radar and communication coverage.

This is not an expensive issue because the existing radar and radio communication in Cebu will need a little enhancement to cover more effectively both Vsayas and Mindano airspace,” the letter said.

It added that the new MACC can cover not only the Philippine in-land airspace but also the oceanic airspace by the introduction of Automatic Dependent Surveillance (ADS) and Controller Pilot Data Link Communication system.

“In other words, we could save this cost of oceanic expansion under the CNS/ATM project by only commissioning the new MACC systems. All of this is already being undertaken by MACC Upgrade Project,” the letter said.

In comparison, the upgrade of the new MACC would only cost P550 million, way below the CNS/ATM Package 1 that costs P4.2 billion.

Given this, the concerned CAAP employees recommended that the project be aborted or just install the ATM in Cebu, as an active back-up because decommissioning the MACC upgrade just to install and recommission it in Cebu would be unnecessary.

The Mactan ACC’s main function would be to handle all south-sector traffic, majority of which are domestic flights.

South sector accounts for about 50-percent to 60-percent traffic of the Philippine airspace.

It added that Mactan will serve as contingency system to handle north, east and west sectors in case Manila ACC bogs down and vice versa.

The letter suggested that the government should reinforce the Manila Approach, which has one radar each for area control and approach control.

These two air traffic control facilities are handling congested traffic at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. because of limitation of runway, which has a capacity of only 30 traffic a hour.
At daytime, actual traffic is more than 30 a hour.

“Breakdown of any radar in Manila will mean enormous delays for both airlines and passengers. Considering that the Tagaytay radar is not on the list of ICAO Certified Civil Radar and has a record of a yearly breakdown, redundant radar for 2 ATC facilities will ensure continuous operation of traffic at NAIA,” the letter said.

“We do not want a repeat of September 13, 2009 chaos in MIA [Manila International Airport] wherein all flights between 3 p.m. (and) 9 p.m. were stopped due to UPS breakdown of Manila ACC, which had only 1 power supply line,” it added.

Other sources from CAAP, however, disagreed with arguments that the country does not need the CNS/ATM project.

“If you make a wrong prediction in the statistics or traffic volume what will happen? It’s alarming. To whom are they liable? They are only liable to their contractor. But our consultant is liable to the government,” one CAAP official said.

“Some people are playing with lives,” he added.

The CAAP official said that one particular group wants to shoot down the CNS/ATM program in order to push their own project.

“If CNS/ATM will not push through, some companies will take over the project.

There are some who are disqualified and want to go back to the table through the backdoor,” he added.

P13-B air traffic project clean, DOTC official insists

DANTE VELASCO, undersecretary for public information of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), said that the P13-billion, Japanese-funded Communications, Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) project is not tainted with corruption.

“We have conducted due diligence. It’s really clean. So, it cannot be compared with the NBN-ZTE deal,” Velasco added, stressing that the project is the medium and long-term solution to address all aviation problems in the country.

The proposed $330-million National Broadband Network project between the Philippines and China’s ZTE Corp. was canceled for allegedly being tainted with corruption.

Velasco last week said that the new Manila Air Control Center (MACC) and CNS/ATM project are not the same.

“The MACC covers only the portion of the air space of the Philippines, but the CNS/ATM covers the whole air space of the country. These are two different projects. But [they are] complementary to each other. There’s no competition and no conflict,” he added.

Velasco said that based on the masterplan that was approved by DOTC, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the MACC will serve as the official back-up of the CNS/ATM.

“Under the masterplan, the MACC will eventually be transferred to Mactan in Cebu once the CNS/ATM becomes fully operational. We have a masterplan to follow. They should follow the master plan,” he added.

Emergency system
Ken Ortiz, CAAP’s project director for CNS/ATM, told The Manila Times that the new MACC was conceptualized as an emergency system, “not a full-blown project.”

“The objective of the new MACC is to replace the old MA¬CC,” he said, adding that the existing MACC would be replaced to maintain continuous operations during the transition to a new CNS/ATM system.

According to Ortiz, the new system was critical to the aviation industry because traffic congestion has become a problem.

“We are experiencing delays in air traffic now in landing and take-off,” he said, adding that the projected traffic in the next five to 10 years cannot be managed using the old MACC.

Ortiz cited the importance of expanding the coverage of the country’s air-traffic control.

In the CNS/ATM, he said, the Philippines is installing 34 consoles or controller positions with annual aircraft movements of 374,000.

This is lower compared to Guangzhou in China with 44 controller positions at 374,000 annual aircraft movements.

In Singapore, Ortiz noted there are 72 controllers with annual aircraft movements of 262,000; Hong Kong, 89 controllers with 280,000 aircraft movements; Taiwan, 71 controllers, 335,000 aircraft movements; Beijing, 44 controllers, 488,000 aircraft movements; Shanghai, 44 with 475,000 aircraft movements; and Incheon, also 44 with 196,000 aircraft movements.

He said that they would need additional personnel once the CNS/ATM project became operational.

“There would be retooling of personnel, because it’s a new technology. This project includes training. People would be trained to adopt this new system.” Ortiz added.

The DOTC and Japan International Cooperation Agency tapped the consultancy service of Aviation Systems Consultant of Japan in joint venture with Airways International of New Zealand, Azusa Sekkei Co. of Japan and Katahira & Engineers International.

CSC: DOTC chief can't appoint CAAP executives

By Rudy Santos

February 8, 2011

MANILA, Philippines - The Civil Service Commission (CSC) has voided the appointment of seven directors of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), ruling that Transport and Communications Secretary Jose de Jesus had no authority to appoint them.

Stripped of their appointments were Ramon Gutierrez, now CAAP director general; Napoleon Garcia, deputy director general for operations; Wilfredo Borja, assistant director general (Air Traffic Services); Andrew Basallote, assistant director general (Air Navigation Service); Edgardo Costes, assistant director general (Aerodrome Development and Management Service); Wilson Mirabona, assistant director general (Aerodrome Development and Management Service); and Andres Laurilla, assistant director general (Civil Aviation Training Center).

When De Jesus made the appointments in November, then CAAP chief Alfonso Cusi questioned the validity of the appointments because the law stipulates that the CAAP director general shall be the appointing authority for all technical and supervisory personnel. The appointments would also have to be approved by the CAAP board.

Cusi, however, clarified that he did not question the qualifications of the appointees. He resigned in December 2010, saying he felt ignored by his superiors.

In a letter to President Aquino, the CSC said under the law, “the only appointing authority at the CAAP (aside from the CAAP chief), from the lowest to the highest position, is the President of the Philippines.”

The CSC had no objections to the qualifications of the other appointees, but noted that the appointment of Costes was nullified because “he does not meet the 5,000 hours pilot-in-command experience requirement.”

Gutierrez said all seven of them will ask Aquino to validate their appointments.

“We will ask the President to appoint the seven officials by way of going around the CSC restrictions,” he said.

Air Balloon Festival in Clark kicks off February 10

By Franco G. Regala

February 5, 2011

CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga – At least 27 hot air balloons will be participating in the annual Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival inside the Clark Economic Zone in Pampanga.

According to Sonny Lopez, Public Affairs manager of Clark Development Corporation (CDC), among the countries that have confirmed their participation in the Feb. 10-13 event aside from the Philippines are the United Kingdom, United States, Japan, Hungary, Finland, Thailand, South Korea and Malaysia.

Lopez said visitors will be able to experience a 45-minute hot air balloon flight for only P250 per adult and P150 per child. Tour schedules are 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

There will also be sky diving and paragliding exhibitions as well as rocketry and radio-controlled model aircraft demonstrations. --- Manila Bulletin

SEAIR Off to Hong Kong, Macau

Flight Starts February 14

February 4, 2011

South East Asian Airlines (SEAir) will be flying to Hong Kong and Macau from its hub in Manila Clark starting February 14 as it expands its international flight operations to the Chinese mainland.

SEAir will operate additional Clark-to-Hong Kong flights twice a day while flights to Macau will be thrice a week said its President Avelino Zapanta.

"We are in the planning stage to add more flights from Clark to Vietnam, Korea and Thailand. Says Zapanta who intends to fly to Taipei, Taiwan soon.

"We have two airbuses so its more than enough for now" Zapanta added.

Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) president and CEO Victor Jose I. Luciano said that SEAir would add 17 more flights a week that would average a total of 85 international weekly flights, excluding the operations of Federal Express and United Parcel Service (UPS) at the DMIA.

Luciano said other carriers operating from the DMIA include Air Asia of Malaysia with flights to Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia; Asiana Airlines and budget carrier Jin Air of South Korea, all with flights to Incheon; and domestic carrier Cebu Pacific Air that flies to Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau and Bangkok; and Spirit of Manila Airlines that flies to Taipei.

SEAir's international flights can be booked through Tiger Airways’ website.

Flights to Cebu rose 7% last year

February 3, 2011


Domestic and international flights to Cebu rose slightly last year, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said.

In a report by the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority on Tuesday, there was a 7 percent increase in the total number of flights in 2010.

Most of the arrivals in the international flights were from South Korea with Incheon Metropolitan City having 37 flights a week. This is followed by 22 flights a week to Singapore, 14 flights to Hong Kong, 9 flights to Busan, 6 flights to Narita and 3 flights a week to Doha.

“Cebu is the most googled site in the country. We have a good track record in peace and order. We have done our best to improve the capabilities of Cebu to host international events,” Garcia said.

Garcia also thanked the private sector for its confidence in Cebu and for putting up world-class facilities such as hotels

A total of 23,698 flights were recorded in 2010 compared to 22,129 flights in 2009. Of the total, 4,001 were international flights while 19,697 were domestic flights.

Passenger arrivals likewise increased by 14 percent in 2010.

From 4,757,173 in 2009, a total of 5,411,687 passengers arrived in Cebu last year.

A total of 473 domestic flights and 91 international flights arrive in Cebu weekly.

In a press conference yesterday, Garcia attributed the increase in flights to the major airlines that have made Cebu their hub for most of their flights.

Cebu Pacific recorded 98 flights a week to Manila. Air Philippines has 35. Philippine Airlines has 36 flights and Zest Air has 33 flights. Thus, a total of 222 flights leave for Manila alone.

“We have this geographic advantage, here at the center. We are at the heart of the archipelago. And people find it convenient to fly from Cebu to go to other destinations in the country,” Garcia explained.

MCIAA currently serves a total of 20 destinations from Cebu to other points in the country. These include Davao, Cagayan, Bacolod, Tacloban, Iloilo, Caticlan, Zamboanga, Osamis, Surigao, Puerto Princessa, Butuan, Siargao and Manila. PDI