By: Francis Allan L. Angelo
ALL AIRLINE tickets for the first international flights out of Iloilo have already been sold out, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT).
DOT OIC-regional director Helen J. Catalbas said tickets for Iloilo-Hong Kong and Iloilo-Singapore trips until November 30 are already booked by Cebu Pacific passengers.
The airline firm officially began selling tickets for the two flights July 16 based on its website and official statement.
Cebu Pacific will launch on November 8, 2012 its twice weekly flights from Iloilo to Hong Kong, and four weekly flights from Iloilo to General Santos. It will also add one Iloilo-Manila daily service on the same day, making it a 7 times daily Iloilo-Manila service.
On November 9, the firm will also launch thrice weekly flights from Iloilo to Singapore and thrice weekly flights from Iloilo to Puerto Princesa. The airline will also launch thrice weekly flights from Cagayan de Oro to Bacolod on the same day.
Cebu Pacific intended to hold a seat sale for the international flights until July 19, 2012 or until seats last but it took only a day to book all seats.
A seat for the Hong Kong and Singapore trips cost P1,488 all in, the airline said.
Aside from Iloilo passengers, the new routes will also serve passengers from Puerto Princesa and Gen. Santos who want to fly to Hong Kong or Singapore.
Catalbas said the maiden flights were timed with the delivery of three more brand-new Airbus A320 aircraft which will be used for the new routes.
Catalbas said they continue pushing for the declaration of the Iloilo airport as an international gateway by the Civil Aviation Board which handles policies in the airline industry.
“The declaration is very important because that will allow the assignment of permanent personnel who will handle the customs, immigration and quarantine services (CIQS) at the airport. Without such declaration, we will have to borrow CIQS personnel from other airports and airlines will have to pay for their services,” she added.
The Iloilo airport management is also working to provide spaces for CIQS personnel and international passengers before the maiden flights.
Even taxi drivers, tour operators and hotel/resorts will also be trained to prepare for the international flights.