Monday, March 31, 2014

SkyJet Launching Boracay, Drops Virac

SkyJet Airlines has revealed that it will be launching the fastest flights and only jet-service from Manila to Boracay Island via Caticlan Airport beginning on April 15. The airline will begin operating the route with three flights per week.

skyjet boracay caticlan
Image Source: SkyJet Airlines/Facebook
SkyJet, which markets itself as "the airline of the stars" has earned a popular reputation for itself by carrying famous personalities from the Philippines including celebrities like Kris Aquino. In May, the airline will increase its frequency between Manila and Caticlan to daily service just in time for the peak summer season. The new flights to Boracay are in addition to SkyJet's existing flights to Basco, Batanes, and Coron, Palawan.

In addition to giving passengers the opportunity to "fly with the stars" to popular tourist destinations, SkyJet focuses on delivering a business-class flight experience to all of its passengers including spacious seats, ample leg room, complimentary baggage, and complimentary beverages including juices, coffee, and even champagne.

"We are not a low-cost carrier," said Dino Chua, President of SkyJet Airlines. "SkyJet sells experience, not only seats. We are here to promote destinations and culture and help our government achieve its tourism targets."

SkyJet will be operating its flights to Caticlan with a 79-seat British Aerospace Bae 146-100 aircraft built in the United Kingdom. The four engined jet has earned a popular reputation worldwide for its quiet performance, short-take off and landing ability as well as for being the British Royal Family's aircraft of choice. 

The aircraft gives SkyJet Airlines a competitive advantage in the Boracay market being the only airline able to offer jet service to the popular resort island as Caticlan's short runway is currently only able to handle turbo-props and aircraft with short-take off and landing abilities. SkyJet's exclusive jet service will provide the fastest flights to Boracay Island, exceeding those operated by competitors PAL Express and Cebu Pacific which utilise slower turbo-prop aircraft. 

skyjet boracay
Image Source: SkyJet Airlines/Facebook
Meanwhile, a report in the Cantanduanes Tribune revealed that SkyJet will no longer be flying to Virac. Congressman Cesar Sarmiento informed local media during a breakfast meeting that he had called SkyJet to check on the status of relaunching flights to Virac but was informed that Cebu Pacific's aggressive move to replace its turbo-prop service with an Airbus A319 aircraft had forced SkyJet out of the market.

With Cebu Pacific's aggressively priced budget fares, the small boutique airline simply could not compete with SkyJet management reportedly claiming that its costs amount to approximately P5,000 per seat. In spite of SkyJet's decision to drop its Virac route, Congressman Sarmiento expressed his gratitute to Skyjet for the vital role that it played in bringing jet service to the island. 

Last year, SkyJet's entry into Virac prompted Cebu Pacific to replace its turbo-prop aircraft with Airbus A319 aircraft in order to satisfy local tourists and commuters. Representatives from Cebu Pacific and the Civil Aviation Authority had to conduct a site inspection at Virac Airport last year in order to determine if an Airbus A319 aircraft could safely land on Virac's short runway. 

Meanwhile, Congressman Sarmiento also reported that the Civil Aviation Authority is proposing improvements to Virac Airport by 2015 including an extension of the runway and installation of runway lights to enable night flying. For decades, aircraft flying to and from Virac have been unable to land after 5:00pm due to sunset limitations.

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