SILAY CITY -- Low-cost carrier AirAsia launched its Manila-Bacolod flights on Sunday, coinciding with the highlights of the 40th MassKara Festival.
“We’re so happy that we are finally in Bacolod. This is our second route in Western Visayas and 12th in our domestic destinations. We’re also happy to announce that for the month of October, we’re fully booked,” AirAsia Philippines chief executive officer Ricardo Isla said in his message.
The inaugural flight, which arrived at the Bacolod-Silay Airport here around 9:40 a.m., was boarded by airline officials led by Isla and chairman Joseph Omar Castillo.
AirAsia is flying three times daily to Bacolod, or a total of six flights, including the return trips to Manila.
“We’re also honored that we’re part of Bacolod not only in terms of providing socio-economic programs, but more importantly, in boosting tourism. We know that Bacolod is going to be one of our fast-selling destinations,” Isla said.
He added AirAsia is committed to provide passengers from Bacolod affordable products and services.
As of its maiden flight, the budget airline has already booked 10,000 passengers for the Manila-Bacolod until the end of the year.
Commercial head Gilbert Simpao said that Bacolod was one of the biggest unserved markets in their network, and in routes where AirAsia is not present, ticket prices are inflated.
“As a low-cost carrier, we have a purpose. We believe that flying is not just for rich people. We want everyone to be able to fly…We said that people from Bacolod should be able to afford good value travel,” he added.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia, who played a decisive role in the discussions to establish the Bacolod route, thanked 1-Pacman party-list Rep. Michael “Mikee” Romero, whose family is the majority shareholder of Philippines AirAsia Inc., for “keeping his promise” to open the Bacolod route.
Earlier this year, Leonardia had pushed for the entry of a third airline at the Bacolod-Silay Airport in a bid to reduce the airfare rates.
Frequent flyers from Negros Occidental to Manila had noted the much higher airfare charges in Bacolod compared to that in neighboring cities of Iloilo and Cebu. (PNA)