EXPANDED OPERATION. A Fokker 50 plane owned by Leading Edge Air Services Corp. (LEASCOR)  lands at the Ormoc City Airport in the western part of Leyte province. LEASCOR is eyeing to expand its operation in Eastern Visayas by servicing the Ormoc Airport, a top official said on Wednesday (May 15, 2019) . (PNA photo by Sarwell Meniano)

ORMOC CITY -- The Leading Edge Air Services Corp. (LEASCOR) is eyeing to expand its operation in Eastern Visayas by servicing the Ormoc Airport, a top official said.

LEASCOR Vice Chairman Gilbert Llanto said plans have been laid out to open the Ormoc-Cebu flight and introduce a hub-in, hub-off concept of operation at the Ormoc Airport.

Under the said concept, the plane will either take passengers from airports in Borongan or Guiuan in Eastern Samar before landing in Ormoc to pick up Cebu-bound passengers.

“What we will do is we will bundle it with another destination that has regular flights. That is our initial approach, then if we see that the market of Ormoc-Cebu is okay, we will now have a specific flight for Ormoc only,” Llanto told said in a meeting with Department of Transportation (DOTr) officials on Wednesday here.

“We promise the mayor that we will start operating here in Ormoc before or during the city fiesta in June,” Llanto added.

The LEASCOR official explained that serving a Cebu-Ormoc flight will not only provide better accessibility, but will also help in promoting the city’s tourism, the western part of Leyte province, and Biliran Island.

Ormoc City is part of the northwest Leyte tourism corridor by the Department of Tourism covering the towns and cities in the third, fourth, and fifth legislative districts of the province.

Top tourist destinations in Ormoc and nearby areas include the violin-shape Lake Danao in Ormoc, Tongonan Geothermal Plant in Ormoc and Kananga town, Cuatro Islas in Hindang and Inopacan towns, 16,000 Blossoms in Baybay City, and the Kalanggaman Island in Palompon town.

In Biliran province, major tourist destinations are the Sambawan Island in Maripipi, Higatangan Island in Naval. The province is also known for its several waterfalls such as the Tinago Falls in Caibiran and the Ulan-ulan and Recoletos Falls in Almeria town.

“Our vision in LEASCOR is to go to places of the beaten track, places that there are no commercial flights and we find Region 8 as perfect example that needs more air services,” Llanto added.

The airline official said that once they start operating in Ormoc, they may also bring in speed boats that will ferry tourist to reach island destinations like Kalanggaman and Sambawan.

Travel from Ormoc to Kalanggaman by land and pump boat takes almost two hours while from Ormoc to Sambawan will take at least three hours.

LEASCOR, a subsidiary of Access Credits Cooperative Development Inc. (ACDI), has been servicing the Clark-Borongan-Clark flight since November 2018.

Established in 2016, LEASCOR is the chartering arm of ACDI Multipurpose Cooperative that serves members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, who are in active service, retirees, those in the reserved force, regular civilian employees and dependents. (PNA)