Seair says new routes to hike passenger load to 1.5 million

By Manuel T. Cayon, BusinessMirror

Posted at Jul 06 2012 07:43 AM | Updated as of Jul 06 2012 03:56 PM

DAVAO CITY – Southeast Asian Airlines (Seair) expects to carry 1.5 million passengers yearly as soon as its expansion program is in place that will cover seven cities in the country and establish two regional hubs in Cebu and Davao.

Seair chief operating officer Patrick Tan told reporters here on Thursday that the new routes would increase the current number of passengers annually by 200 percent.

With its existing domestic routes to Manila and Kalibo from Clark airport, and to Basco, Batanes, Romblon and Caticlan, Aklan from its Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) hub now carry an average of 500,000 passengers annually.

The network expansion would cover the cities of Davao, Iloilo, Bacolod, Kalibo, Tacloban, Cebu and Puerto Princesa.

Seair plans to mount two flights to Davao from Manila starting August 18, and will use a 144-seater Airbus 319. Seair is slated to acquire five airplanes in the next three years.

The Manila-Davao route alone would carry 200,000 passengers to Davao City every year, Tan said. He added that this route would be likely increased to 18 flights weekly but it would depend on the government allotment of flight frequencies.

He said Seair also plan develop Davao and Cebu hubs to later mount flights to Cebu and Singapore.

The Davao-Singapore flight would revive the route left by Tiger Airways, which 40-percent cquired by Seair.

Aside from the domestic expansion, Tan said the company would open new connections to South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, China, Vietnam and Myanmar. It is currently serving Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore and Kota Kinabalu. He said its tie-up with Tiger Airways would increase its accessibility to travelers due to the facility of Tiger Airways.

Tan added that Seair is less troubled by the Naia congestion than with other airlines “because we have been at Clark since 1998 and our location would already support the government plan to relocate the international airport from Naia to Clark.”