V Air launched its inaugural Manila-Taipei flight last Sunday with evening flights every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. It uses A320 and A321 aircraft that can seat 180 and 194 passengers, respectively, in an all-economy configuration.
The Taiwanese carrier is also planning to have direct flights from Taiwan to Kalibo, Puerto Princesa and Cebu.
“There are more younger travelers coming to the Philippines. Our roundtrip fares are about P3,000 and I think the competitors’ prices are double,” V Air Chief Commercial Officer Bernard Hsu said in an interview at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport after the inaugural flight.
It will go up against local budget carrier Cebu Pacific and flag carrier Philippine Airlines, as well as China Airlines and EVA Air. “Most of them are full-service airlines, except Cebu Pacific, but Cebu Pacific departs early morning, not at night,” he added.
V Air has already secured government approval to offer daily flights, which it hopes to launch by the second half of the year depending on the initial market reception.
“Young travelers also want to go to the beach and tourism destinations because Manila is more on business and shopping. We want to provide them a combination of both, so they may enter through Manila and spend a few days in Kalibo then fly back to Taiwan,” he explained.
A START-UP budget airline based in Taiwan is eyeing flights to the Philippines via Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport, a government official said last week.
Civil Aeronautics Board executive director Carmelo Arcilla told reporters Friday that V Air is seeking slots to operate in Manila by March 2016. He said the carrier is currently in the process of submitting its application.
“We had air talks with Taiwan, so we [anticipate] expansion. One of our major markets is Taiwan,” Arcilla said.
Information posted on V Air’s website showed the carrier was established in 2013 with the aim of competing in the low-cost airline segment. Its hub is located at the Taoyuan International Airport.
The carrier officially launched on December 17, 2014 servicing the Taipei-Bangkok route. It plans to operate in Japan and Korea by the end of 2015.
It will operate a fleet of Airbus A320s and A321 planes, with an all-economy class configuration.
V Air will end 2015 with a “minimum” five aircraft. It plans to expand the fleet by introducing at least two to three aircraft every year, it added.
Apart from V Air, Arcilla said Turkish Airlines was also seeking approval for daily flights in Manila.
Naia is currently the country’s busiest airport, handling about 33 million passengers per year.
Congestion issues in recent years have made it difficult for commercial airlines to secure slots during peak hours.
The Department of Transportation and Communications earlier tapped a British air traffic management company to help ease runway bottlenecks at NAIA.
Source: Miguel R. Camus, Philippine Daily Inquirer