AirAsia Zest: More International Flights from Cebu

After designating Cebu as one its Philippine hubs and launching a number of new flights including an international service to Kuala Lumpur earlier this month, AirAsia Zest is already making plans to add even more international flights from Cebu. 

airasia zest cebu
Copyright Photo: Al Veloria/Facebook
According to Joy Caneba, Chief Operating Officer of AirAsia Zest, the airline is going to add two additional international routes from Cebu this month in addition to its Kuala Lumpur service. "Starting December 19, we will start servicing Cebu to Kota Kinabalu and by mid-December, we will fly to Incheon, South Korea."

The airline's new direct flights to Kuala Lumpur have already been well received with the inaugural flight carrying more than 100 guests. The inaugural flight was operated by an all-Filipino crew and arrived ahead of schedule at Kuala Lumpur's Low Cost Carrier Terminal. The return flight carrying 128 guests was greeted by the traditional water canon salute when it touched down at Mactan Cebu Airport. 

"The inaugural flight is only the first among the many new routes that AirAsia Zest will launch in Cebu," said Caneba. "Our commitment in partnering with AirAsia, the world's best low cost carrier, is to build a truly great value airline that will serve the needs of the Filipino travellers and invigorate the tourism industry in the country."

The Cebu flight to Kuala Lumpur is in addition to twice daily flights currently operated by AirAsia Zest from Manila's NAIA Terminal 4 linking the Philippines with Malaysia. "Our Cebu to KL flight provides yet another link for Filipinos and Malaysians in the areas of trade and commerce but more importantly, we hope to draw tourists from Malaysia to our amazing beaches and natural wonders in Cebu, Puerto Princesa, Davao, Cagayan de Oro amongst others," said Caneba. 

AirAsia Zest is expected to draw in more Malaysian tourists from Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah state in Malaysia. The airline is hoping to attract 10 percent of Malaysia's 25 million annual tourists particularly through Cebu. "If we are able to draw even a fraction of Malaysia's 25 million annual tourists, it will have a significant impact on our tourist arrival record, which translates to more jobs, more food on the table, and more opportunities for every Filipino."

Meanwhile, the General Manager of Mactan-Cebu International Airport Nigel Villarete expressed his support for the increasing number of international flights at the airport that would help transform it into one of the country's top aviation centres. "If Antonov could land in Mactan, then we can get anything else to land here," said Villarete. He was referring to the arrival of the world's largest aircraft in Cebu on November 12 which delivered a 140-ton power generator. 

With AirAsia Zest's new line up of domestic and international flights, Cebu can expect additional inbound traffic in 2014. The airline is planning further expansion in Cebu next year as it takes delivery of an additional six aircraft in the next twelve months. 

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