MANILA- At least the AirAsia group remains highly committed to the Philippines despite recent catastrophes faced by the country in the last six months. Typhoon and earthquake did not deter Asia’s largest low cost airline to further expand to the Phillipine archipelago.
Just a few months after opening the Cebu market with new flights to both Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu, the Malaysian affiliate AirAsia Bhd announced to launch from April 18 four weekly frequencies from Kuala Lumpur to Kalibo. Kalibo airport is the nearest location to go to Boracay Island, one of the Philippines most renowned resort areas.
Last February, Philippe Ambassador to Malaysia Eduardo Malaya expressed his satisfaction to media : “As we move towards the attainment of the Asean Economic Community in 2015 and as close neighbors, it is high time for Malaysians and Filipinos to meet, engage and get to know more of each other’s peoples and countries,” he said in a statement.
The Kuala Lumpur to Kalibo direct international flight will be a first for the local airport. The nearest airport to Boracay is the Godofredo P. Ramos Airport in the town of Caticlan. From there, Boracay Island is only accessible either through Caticlan or Kalibo. However, only Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines Express have regular flights to Caticlan which has limited air facilities.
The transfer via Kalibo is slightly longer, varying between an hour and a half and three hours depending of the type of transportation used. The new route of AirAsia will anyway bring tourists closer to Boracay instead of a transfer via Manila.
Late last year, AirAsia Zest launched its first international flights from Cebu Mactan International Airport to Kuala Lumpur as well as Kota Kinabalu. Cebu is AirAsia Zest second hub with new international and domestic flights being served. Currently the AirAsia Group serves eight destinations in the Philippines with Manila, Cebu and soon Kalibo being internationally connected.
Manila is connected to 13 international and domestic destinations while Cebu is connected to 8 domestic and international destinations.