Lucio Tan relaunches Air Philippines as Airphil Express

By Rudy Santos, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 28 2010 01:35 AM | Updated as of Mar 28 2010 09:48 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Low-cost carrier Air Philippines re-launched itself yesterday under the brand name Airphil Express, boosting its fleet with the acquisition of two A320-200 aircraft.

The two A320s, sporting the new Airphil Express livery and configured mono-class with 177 seats, will fly starting today (March 28) from Manila to Iloilo, Bacolod, Puerto Princesa and Cagayan de Oro, signaling the resumption of jet service to these domestic routes.

Tycoon Lucio Tan, chairman of Airphil’s parent Philippine Airlines, said Airphil Express is acquiring a total of 20 new airplanes over the next 4 years, to be added to the current fleet of eight Bombadier Q400 and Q300 turbo-prop aircrafts.

Aside from the two leased narrow-body jets, four brand-new A320s will also be delivered from Airbus manufacturing facility in Toulouse, France between September and November 2010. Four more aircraft will join the fleet next year, five aircraft in 2012 and another five in 2013. Tan added.

“We want to position Airphil Express as a low-cost carrier offering quality service,” David Lim, president of Airphil, said.

“The modernization of our fleet will hopefully enable us to increase market share while the industry braces for the eventual rebound,” he added.

(Read: Air Philippines to give Cebu Pacific 'serious competition')

The route network of Airphil Express will continue to expand as it adds to its existing flights the following domestic destinations:

  • Tuguegarao
  • Naga
  • San Jose (Mindoro)
  • Busuanga
  • Boracay (Caticlan)
  • Catarman
  • Calbayog
  • Tacloban
  • Ormoc
  • Iloilo
  • Bacolod
  • Cebu
  • Surigao
  • Dipolog
  • Cagayan De Oro
  • Ozamiz
  • Zamboanga
  • Davao
  • Masbate

More domestic points will be added to the network when more jets join the fleet.

Domingo Chua, chairman of Airphil’s board, said “this is the start of a brighter tomorrow for the company as we see more A320s to come and, in fact, Airphil Express will be acquiring 20 new aircraft over the next four years.”

As we bless our first A320 and launch as a new and more vibrant image to the market, we boldly show our competitors that we are still here and we intend to stay and Airphil Express shall once more rise to the challenge, true to its vision and mission, to be the premier low-cost carrier not only of the Philippines but of Asia,” Chua added.

“Together we will develop new routes and reach more destinations both in the domestic and regional areas. With low fares, we will compete and with our excellent service we will prevail.”

He also said that “the resilency, ability, strength and courage of the men and women of Airphil Express will be tested once more and we are about to cross a threshold, we are about to make that first step towards a brighter Airphil Express and we will do it together.”