Why Seair-I is making Clark airport its base

by Jon Carlos Rodriguez, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Apr 09 2014 01:17 PM | Updated as of Apr 09 2014 10:48 PM

MANILA, Philippines – South East Asian Airlines International (Seair-I) announced on Tuesday that it will resume flying to Boracay and Palawan via Clark International Airport under its new name and new airline code XO starting April 16.

Seair-I flights to Caticlan via Clark will fly five times a week while Caticlan to Puerto Princesa will fly three times a week.

Flight schedules are still pending approval from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB).

Seair-I will be the only operator for these routes, with promo fares starting at P2,085.

“We’re back at where we are good at and it is at providing air services to the exotic destinations of the country,” Seair-I president Avelino Zapanta told reporters at a press briefing in Makati.

Zapanta said Seair-I aims to reestablish itself as the country’s top leisure airline for local and international tourists.

Seair-I will operate scheduled flights from Clark, while retaining only chartered flights from Manila.

“We plan to operate in Clark and make it our base of operation because we would like to improve the interlining engagement that we have started with airlines operating in and out Clark,” said Zapanta.

These airlines include Qatar Airways, Asiana Airlines, and Dragonair.

“We have touched base with them already and we are looking at the connectivity of the flights,” Zapanta added.

Seair-I chief operating officer Patrick Tan, meanwhile, noted that flights out of Clark will benefit travelers those living north of Manila.

“Clark to Caticlan is targeted at the population of north of Manila up to Baguio and further because it will be the easiest way for them to get to Boracay without having to enter Metro Manila. Even for those living in Valenzuela and Quezon City, Clark is a good alternative especially with the coming traffic jams with the EDSA upgrading,” he said.

Seair-I will operate a 32-seater Dornier 328 plane for its Clark-Caticlan-Puerto Princesa route.

Zapanta said Seair-I is looking to acquire more planes and more routes to tourist spots like Bantayan, Masbate, Marinduque, Camiguin, and Guiuan.

The airline is also planning to launch chartered flights to Taiwan and China, and eventually to Japan.

Seair-I was formed as a low cost carrier in 2012 after Southeast Asian Airlines Inc. (Seair) was sold to Singapore’s Tiger Airways.

Cebu Pacific then entered a strategic alliance with Tiger Airways that led to the 100 percent acquisition of Tigerair Philippines.

The agreement with Cebu Pacific and Tigerair allows Seair-I to retain its logo and corporate identity.