LONDON – The restart of the low cost carrier’s South Korean service marks the latest waypoint in AirAsia Philippines’ strong bid to return to pre-COVID international capacity.
The low-cost carrier’s resumption of flights to Seoul Incheon Airport in South Korea from 14 June is the latest addition to the growing list of international routes opened back up this year.
The airline has accelerated its route expansion program to destinations including Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and now Seoul.
The airline now flies thrice weekly to the South Korean city – every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The Manila-Seoul flight departs at 5:35 pm (LMT) from Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport and is estimated to arrive at the Seoul Incheon International Airport at 10:40 pm local.
The reinauguration of the route has come after the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Philippines announced the resumption of the application and issuance of all types of visas, commencing from June 1, 2022.
80% of pre-Covid activity levels
AirAsia Philippines Spokesperson and Head of Communications and Public Affairs Steve Dailisan commented on current activity levels and performance, saying:
“In 2022, we are aggressive in growing our flight frequency and route network. We are at 80 percent of our pre-Covid frequency levels this Q2 and we expect to recover fully by Q4.”
“With additional flights, we expect tremendous growth in our ancillary businesses like baggage, meals, and even hot seats. The situation is truly looking up for all lines of businesses in aviation this year.”
Dailisan also noted that alongside the staggering increase in passengers flown, the airline has experienced a significant triple-digit growth for its ancillary products.
The airline saw a massive 282 percent increase in sales for additional baggage allowance and a 335 percent increase in in-flight meal purchases for the January to June half-year, compared to the same period last year.
Roxas City added to domestic route network
On the domestic front, the carrier also added Roxas City to its domestic scheduling, with a proposed thrice weekly service from Manila to Roxas commencing from 16 June.
Known as the Seafood Capital of the Philippines, Roxas City has enjoyed steadily growing tourism demand following the progressive lifting of border restrictions.
The maiden flight Z2 343, departed from Manila at 7:15am (LMT), arriving at the Roxas City Airport at 8:30am.
The first flight carried 180 guests, including AirAsia CEO Ricky Isla, Airasia Super App Managing Director Ray Berja, other airline executives and members of the media.
CEO Ricky Isla said: “We are happy to have successfully launched our maiden flight in Roxas. The pandemic may have pushed back the opening but it also allowed us to focus on strengthening the viability of this route.”
“Expect AirAsia to be driving foreign and local tourists to experience the best of Capiz. We are confident that this expansion will also help in stimulating commerce and growth in other booming sectors, such as ICT and trade.”
Cause for festivity
To celebrate AirAsia’s successful launch in Roxas City, a music fest was held at the SM City Roxas grounds.
The event culminated with a grand fireworks display, showcasing the colours of victory and triumph rising above the challenges brought by the pandemic.