When in Manila, August 15, 2011 signified a big moment for Philippine tourism as AirAsia Philippines’ first airbus A320 landed on Philippine grounds. Captain Johansen Hernandez commanded the brand new, state-of-the art aircraft, as it was flown in from the Airbus factory in Toulouse, France. The very first flight carried 29 people, including Marianne Hontiveros, AirAsia Philippines CEO; Mercedes Tuason, Ambassador of Philippines to the Vatican; Father Lopez, who held the first Catholic mass on the airbus (yes, at 39,000 ft above the ground); an all-Filipino crew; and some Filipino media.
Mercedes Tuason, Ambassador of Philippines to the Vatican
Part of the media entourage was Lyn Ching
This is a very exciting moment, both for the airline company and the Filipinos, as the AirAsia Group made a commitment to encourage Philippine travel in their own lands. According to Hontiveros, the neighboring countries pledged to “actively promote the Philippines and Clark as a destination“. This means that Clark will serve as a gateway for economic growth, as the potential increase in tourist arrivals would also mean more job opportunities. AirAsia Philippines also aims to become a big player in the local airline industry.
AirAsia’s promise to travelers: budget friendly flights and safe, reliable service.
“We might be low cost, but we are not cheap”, said Hontiveros.
Part of those who welcomed the airbus home were Antonio Cojuangco Jr., AirAsia Philippines chairman; Michael Romero, vice chairman; Victor Jose Luciano, president and CEO of Clark International Airport Corporation; Felipe Antonio Remollo, president and CEO of Clark Development Corporation; and Alberto Lim, former Secretary of the Department of Tourism.
Four aircraft will be delivered to AirAsia Philippines on its first year of operation. Company officials said that the second one is scheduled to arrive later this year, while the other two will be delivered in 2012.
Upon approval of its AOC, AirAsia Philippines will fly to regional destinations, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, Bangkok, and Incheon. Domestic flights will also be available, with Puerto Princesa and Kalibo on the list. AirAsia Philippines plans to start commercial flights in the fourth quarter of 2011. It’s exciting to know that we will have more flight options to choose from :) Their timing is also great since travel stats increase during this time of the year – families going back to their loved ones during Christmas season, and people traveling for a holiday vacation.
So When in Manila and looking forward to another trip, visit AirAsia Philippines’ website and see the flights they offer.
More info about AirAsia Philippines – www.airasia.com
Photos courtesy of Mae Ilagan.
AirAsia Philippines Welcomes 1st Airbus A320 at Macapagal International Airport Clark Pampanga