SEAIR International Returning to Caticlan

The original Southeast Asian Airlines (SEAIR) which pioneered service on missionary routes to Batanes and El Nido will soon be returning to the skies restoring its popular service between Manila and Caticlan.

seair dornier 328
Image Source: Wikimedia
The airline first pioneered commercial flights to Boracay in 2005 utilizing its fleet of Dornier 328 aircraft. SEAIR eventually discontinued its turboprop service in mid-2012 as it shifted to an all-jet fleet adopting the TigerAir low-cost carrier business model after the Singapore-based airline purchased a 40% stake in the carrier. The fleet of turboprop aircraft consisting of three Dornier 328 and one LET 410 were later transferred to a separate company known as SEAIR International.

It was announced in December 2012 that SEAIR International had been issued its Air Operator Certificate and would once again be resuming flights. Batanes was expected to be the first scheduled destination earlier in 2013 but plans never materialized. Unlike its predecessor which now operates as low cost carrier TigerAir Philippines, SEAIR International plans to be a boutique airline, serving niche markets that cannot be accessed by other airlines with larger aircraft.

In an interview earlier in 2013, Nick Gitsis, one of the owners of SEAIR International, revealed that the airline was planning to use its fleet of smaller turboprop aircraft to fly to destinations where larger commercial planes are unable to land. In addition to serving Batanes, the airline indicated that it intended to set up a hub at Puerto Princesa Airport to serve missionary routes to El Nido, Busuanga, Taytay, and Cuyo. The airline would also concentrate on cargo operations utilizing its Boeing 737 aircraft that is currently stationed at Clark Airport.

While it remains unclear whether SEAIR International intends to carry out their original route plans, what does remain consistent from their previous announcements is the intention of positioning itself as a premium boutique leisure airline. For its new flights to Caticlan, SEAIR passengers will be offered exclusive lounge access at Manila Domestic Airport Terminal 4 where they can enjoy services including: VIP Concierge Check-In, Superior Baggage Handling, and Complimentary Beverages & Snacks.

"We are delighted to re-launch our Boracay flights, with premium travel services to be enjoyed exclusively by SEAIR passengers," said Patrick Tan of SEAIR. "This is just a first step towards SEAIR's goal to provide luxurious, comfortable, and value for money travel to Boracay."

SEAIR International will be utilizing the Dornier 328 aircraft between Caticlan and Manila. The German manufactured aircraft is the fastest, most advanced jet-prop, enabling the airline to offer the fastest flights from Manila to Caticlan in just 35 minutes. The aircraft which is capable of performing Short Take-Off and Landings is an ideal fit for Caticlan's short runway.

SEAIR International joins PAL Express and Cebu Pacific who have enjoyed a cosy duopoly on the Manila-Caticlan route, the tenth largest domestic route in the Philippines. Cebu Pacific and PAL Express enjoy strong positions on the route with their abilities to provide connections to a wide range of domestic and international destinations for the large number of inbound tourists to Caticlan from North Asia. However, there should still be room in the market for smaller independent carriers like SEAIR International that can easily support the local demand and fill niche markets.

SkyJet Airlines previously announced that it wanted to add Caticlan to its list of destinations by the end of 2013. Like SEAIR International, SkyJet is also targeting the regional leisure carrier niche. SkyJet's plan is to utilize a BAe 146-100 jet aircraft on the route with full service including complimentary baggage allowance and free snacks and beverages. SkyJet hopes to set itself apart as the only jet operator on the Manila-Caticlan route, which should appeal to Filipinos living in Manila seeking to take a quick weekend vacation. The faster flight offered by a jet will help to ensure that every second counts. SkyJet is the only airline in the Philippines currently operating a regional jet. But the airline has yet to announce any confirmed plans for service to Caticlan leaving PAL Express, Cebu Pacific, and SEAIR International to compete for the beach bound tourist traffic.

While SEAIR International has not specified when flights will be launched, flight reservations will soon be available at


  1. Why is the date of the article not shown?

    It is showing the time only...

    1. The article was originally published on September 3, 2013.

  2. do you have any update regarding Carabao Island's proposed International airport?

  3. When is Seair resuming flights from Manila to Caticlan?

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