MANILA — After two years of halting operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more Korean airlines have resumed direct flights to Cebu via the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA).
These flights include daily routes to Incheon, Busan, and Daegu operated by Korean Air, Jin Air, T'way, Jeju Air, and Air Busan.
Cebu Pacific has also started flights from Cebu to Incheon; South Korea is the first international destination that the Filipino airine is restarting from MCIA, its hub in Cebu.
"The return of direct flights to Korea, apart from other international destinations, is a positive signal for the recovery of the travel and aviation sector," said Louie Ferrer, President of GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC), the MCIA's parent company.
Ferrer noted that before the pandemic, Korea comprised the MCIA's main international traffic, followed by the Philippines' neighboring countries in Southeast Asia.
For his part, MCIAA General Manager and CEO Julius Neri Jr. described the return of direct flights to south Korea as a "significant milestone for rebuilding the travel industry in the island of Cebu."
Aside from routes to and from Korea, other international flights that have resumed operations include Cebu to Singapore via Singapore Airlines, Scoot and Cebu Pacific, Cebu to Hong Kong via Cathay Pacific, and Cebu to Taipei via EVA Air.
Meanwhile, domestic flights to and from the MCIA have also been boosted, with Philippine Airlines now operating daily flights to Manila, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Caticlan, Iloilo, Tacloban, and Siargao.
Cebu Pacific also operates daily flights to Manila, Camiguin, Davao, Dumaguete, Busuanga, and Butuan, while flights to Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod, Clark, General Santos, Caticlan, Iloilo, Ozamis, Puerto Princesa, Tacloban, Siargao, and Zamboanga also increased.
AirAsia has also added 4 daily flights to Manila and to Caticlan.
In a statement, MCIA said that the airport's domestic flights have already returned to 70 percent, with international traffic ramping up since May.
MCIA also said its leadership is expecting international traffic to return to pre-pandemic levels by the second quarter of 2023.
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