Xiamen Air to Launch Manila Flights Next Month

Thousands of more Chinese tourists may be soon arriving in the Philippines as Xiamen Air of China prepares for its first direct flights to the country. According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, Xiamen Air is planning to launch daily non-stop flights between Manila, Xiamen, and Quanzhou beginning in February.

xiamen air manila
Copyright Photo: Andrew Sieber/Flickr
The two Chinese cities are major destinations in Fujian province, which is in southeastern China. The Department of Tourism reports that in the first half of 2014, China was the fourth largest source of tourist arrivals to the Philippines with 3.955 million tourists.

While there is currently no direct service between Manila and Quanzhou, the Manila to Xiamen route is currently served by three other carriers including Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, and China Southern Airlines.

Xiamen Airlines accepted delivery of two brand new Boeing 737-800 aircraft last December, which will be used to open the new routes to the Philippines. The carrier is planning to accept delivery of an additional nineteen aircraft in 2015. Each Boeing 737-800 is equipped with 170 seats including eight in Business Class and 162 in Economy Class.

The new direct flights from Manila to Xiamen and Quanzhou are expected to begin on February 8, 2015 with each city being serviced with one daily flight. Flight MF819 will depart Xiamen daily at 6:20pm, arriving in Manila at 8:20pm. The return flight, MF820, will depart Manila at 9:20pm, and arrive back in Xiamen at 11:20pm.  

Xiamen Air was the first privately owned airline in China when it was established in 1984. Based at Xiamen's Gaogi International Airport, it operates a fleet of 113 aircraft, which is expected to carry more than 20 million passengers in 2015. In the first quarter of this year, Xiamen Airlines plans to open five new international routes to Southeast and Northeast Asian countries including the Philippines. The carrier also serves other Southeast Asian cities including Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Siem Reap.

According to Jose Angel Honrado, General Manager of the Manila International Airport Authority, Xiamen Air will be the fourth Chinese carrier to operate at Ninoy Aquino International Airport. "We already have China Air, China Southern, and China Eastern," said Honrado. "Passenger traffic seems to be bright."

Xiamen Air is a subsidiary of China Southern Airlines, the largest commercial airline in Asia based on passenger traffic. It is the only airline in China to operate an all Boeing fleet with the average age of aircraft being 5.23 years old as of February 2014. The airline operates more than 3,200 weekly flights on 218 domestic and 26 international routes.

The entry of Xiamen Air spells increased competition for local carriers Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific. Given their large size and extensive route networks, Chinese carriers are considered to be formidable competition. As an example, China Southern alone carried 90 million passengers in 2013, compared to the 37 million passengers that were recorded for all domestic and international flights in the Philippines.
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  1. Does Mr. Honrado realize that China Airlines is a Taiwanese carrier? It would be good if the head of the airport could make the distinction between the two.

    1. Inutil talaga yang si Shalala aka Honrado

    2. He is really unbelievably stupid. He actually meant Air China.

  2. In what NAIA terminal?

  3. No wonder Xiamen does not know how to use the credit card system to charge passengers and have asked me to take photos of my cc front and back and email it to them. Heck NO!

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