Skyjet Sets Maiden Flight to Catanduanes on April 16

LEGAZPI CITY, March 25 (PNA) -– Skyjet Airlines, a new player in the country’s aviation industry, will dispatch its maiden flight to Virac, Catanduanes, on April 16 to mark the beginning of its three-flight-a-week schedule in connecting the island province with Manila.


Owned by Magnum Air, Inc., Skyjet will mount its 94-seater, four-engine British Aerospace 146-200 jet in servicing the route every Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday schedule, Joel Mendoza, the airline’s chief executive officer, said in a statement here on Monday.

The aircraft is specifically made for short landings and takeoffs and designed to operate even in unpaved runways.

This jet, Mendoza said, is quieter and can load up to 3,000 kilograms of cargo.

The fledgling airline, which now flies to Batanes and Busuanga, also allows seven kilos per hand-carried luggage and another 10 kilos free for accompanied cargo.

Servicing Catanduanes is part of the company’s trust to operate underserved and unserved destinations in the country with great tourism potentials, Mendoza said.

The island, separated from the mainland of Bicol by Maqueda Bay and sitting at the Pacific Ocean, is considered one of the promising eco-tourism areas in Bicol owing to its rich ecology and majestic coastal waters that offer exciting surfing and diving sites.

Cebu Pacific is so far the only airline operating the Manila-Virac route three times a week after Zest Airways pulled out, causing shortage in air travel services for tourists and other passengers.

With its flights to Virac, Skyjet is offering a special fare for Catanduanes residents to enable them to enjoy what Mendoza describes as “international flight service on a domestic carrier.”

He said tickets are now being sold on-line for its Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday schedule as a promotion until April 30, a cost that is significantly lower than the regular rate.

Catandunganons would have to book at ticket agents and present their proof of residency to enjoy the special, all-in fare of P3,000 complete with snacks, compared to the P6,000 price of one-way tickets sold by Cebu Pacific.

Skyjet will also reserve at least 10 seats on each flight for senior citizens, who, according to Mendoza, constitute majority of the present air commuters to and from Virac.

The airline executive also said the company will be bringing along travel writers and travel operators from Manila on its inaugural flight to Virac as “we want to promote the island as tourism site.”

Skyjet is also arranging with SM mall theaters in Manila for the showing of video materials of Catanduanes tourist destinations while promotional materials would likewise be placed in its flights to Batanes and Busuanga prior to the Virac flights.

The airline is also offering a special rate to local resort operators, who will be allowed to book complete tour packages to their potential clients.

“Tourists will be provided with hassle-free travel complete with tickets, room and board, and airport transfers,” Mendoza said.

He noted a big demand for a full service carrier with affordable fares without sacrificing seating comfort, space, and enhanced meal, beverage, in-flight entertainment and full staff service.

“Our fares are competitive and offer no hidden charges, no additional charges for seats, free snacks for short haul trip, affordable rates and more cargo space. We focus on safety and our aircraft can operate in the most challenging runways and weather conditions in the Philippines as certified by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines,” Mendoza said.

The airline has an initial fleet of two 94-seater, four-engine BAE 146-200 jets and another aircraft is expected to arrive soon to charter passengers from Batanes to Kaoshiung, Taiwan and vice versa, he added. (PNA) LAM/FGS/DOC/CBD/