Philippine Airlines (PAL) is introducing direct flights between Cebu and Laoag starting Dec. 15, aimed at boosting tourism and accessibility in these Philippine regions.

Direct Flights Launch Between Cebu and Laoag, Boosting Tourism and Accessibility
(Photo : 필대리 from Pixabay)

New Direct Flights from Cebu to Laoag to Boost Tourism

Philippine Airlines (PAL) will begin direct flights between Cebu and Laoag on Friday, Dec. 15, in a move expected to enhance tourism and connectivity in the Philippines. This announcement was made at a press briefing in Cebu on Dec. 11, with Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc joining PAL and Cebu officials in unveiling the new direct flights on the Cebu-Laoag-Cebu route.

Governor Manotoc highlighted that these direct flights would offer travelers access to less-known but captivating tourist spots in Ilocos Norte. He mentioned attractions like the pristine Badoc Island and the scenic Solsona-Apayao road, known for its lush greenery and outdoor activities.

According to Rappler, these new direct flights aim to attract young travelers from Metro Manila and families from Visayas and Mindanao. This initiative builds on a 2013 sisterhood agreement between Cebu and Ilocos Norte to foster stronger collaboration in tourism and other sectors.

Following a marketing study showing demand from Visayas and Mindanao travelers for easier travel to northern Philippines, the Ilocos Norte provincial board approved a partnership with PAL in October. This joint marketing effort is designed to ensure the long-term success of the direct flights.

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The news report also mentioned that the provincial government collaborates with tour operators and travel agencies to offer integrated, cost-effective tour packages. PAL will operate the new route using 86-seat De Havilland Dash 8-400 aircraft, targeting tourists and business travelers.

PAL's direct flights from Cebu to Laoag will run twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays, departing Cebu at 7:35 am and arriving in Laoag at 10:05 am. Return flights will leave Laoag at 10:25 am and reach Cebu at 12:35 pm. This schedule aims to provide convenient travel options for those exploring new destinations in the Philippines.

Philippine Airlines Plans New Direct Flights to the US

Philippine Airlines is considering adding a new direct flight from Manila to the US West Coast location by the third quarter of next year. PAL's President and COO, Stanley Ng, hinted at the possible expansion during the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at NAIA 1 but did not reveal the exact city.

The airline is currently evaluating various options for this new route, which also depends on the aircraft they will lease next year.

ABS-CBN News reported that the United States remains a significant PAL market, with direct flights connecting Manila to New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Honolulu, and Guam. Ng mentioned that the recent introduction of direct flights by United Airlines on the Philippines-US route has not negatively impacted PAL's operations.

Ng said that there's definitely more demand than supply. He also explained that with United Airlines providing that supply, it's not affecting PAL's load factor at the moment.  

PAL's focus on the US means that expansion into Europe must wait. Like many others, the airline faces challenges due to supply chain issues, limiting its ability to add more flights. However, PAL is hopeful for changes by 2025 with the expected arrival of new planes.

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