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02
Mar

Air China to start Cebu-Beijing flights

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By Miguel R. Camus | Philippine Daily Inquirer

One of China’s largest airlines plans to launch operations in Mactan-Cebu International Airport, the Philippines’ second-busiest air gateway, an official of operator GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. said on Tuesday.

Andrew Harrison, GMCAC chief executive advisor, told reporters that Air China was targeting daily flights between Beijing and Cebu starting March 26 this year.

Cebu Airport has ramped up marketing efforts to increase and diversify tourist arrivals. Harrison said visitors from China had been rising in line with these efforts, apart from the warming ties between Manila and Beijing under President Duterte.

“Air China will start operations from Mactan Cebu, it is just waiting for confirmation of the slots,” Harrison said. “It’s a national carrier so it’s a big thing.”

Louie Ferrer, chief marketing officer at Megawide Construction Corp., said their most recent marketing efforts to China were launched last November.

Currently, foreign visitors to Cebu are dominated by South Koreans.

Cebu’s Airport also serves Xiamen Airlines and China Eastern.  Sichuan Airlines eyes chartered flights.

GMCAC is a venture between Megawide Construction and India’s GMR Infrastructure. The consortium won the right to develop and operate Mactan Cebu International Airport via the public private partnership program in 2014.

Apart from China, the company is also in talks with carriers from Australia and the United States, Ferrer said. Philippine Airlines already operates flights between Cebu and Los Angeles, USA.

Increased passenger volume would help Mactan Cebu International Airport reach its target of about 10 million passengers this year, a growth of about 12 percent year-on-year.

Right now, the consortium was building a new Cebu passenger terminal.

The start of operations of the new terminal, set on June 2018, would increase capacity to 12.8 million passengers a year.