|Concept Banner* | photo credit: anne jimenez via Wikipedia Creative Commons|
Batanes has always been considered as an expensive travel destination in the Philippines. Very few airlines serve the Manila-Basco route resulting to very expensive airfares. There was a period when only one airline (SEAir) had flights to Batanes.
We received word from a friend and fellow blogger, Byahilo, that AirPhil Express will start offering flights between Manila and Basco, Batanes by May 2013. Finally, a reliable airline will serve this route and will hopefully make travelling to Philippines' northernmost province more affordable.
With this development, we can expect a more healthy competition among airlines, further boosting local tourism and trade in the region. The tourists and local business will ultimately benefit from this.
It has always been our dream to visit Batanes but our plans were often shelved due to budget constraints and the unreliable service from SEAir. In the meantime, let's wait for the official announcement from AirPhil Express and start saving for a Batanes-trip.
AirPhil Express is expected to mount three flights per week between Manila and Batanes. The airline would most probably utilize their 70-seater Bombardier Q400 aircraft for this route. AirPhil Express is a Philippines-base low-cost airline serving 33 domestic and international destinations.
Earlier on December 14, 2012, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) chief Wilfredo Cabitac announced that Air Philippines (AirPhil Express) intends to operate flights to Basco utilizing a 70-seater plane with test flights scheduled in January 2013. Later on January 15, 2013, the Philippine Information Agency (PIA-2 Batanes) announced that AirPhil Express completed its maiden flight to Basco last January 14, 2013 using a 70-seater aircraft and was scheduled to make another test flight on January 15, 2013.
On February 6, 2013, Airphil Express, through its Facebook Page, officially announced that they will start flying to Basco, Batanes on May 1, 2013. Flight from Manila to Basco are scheduled every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and will depart from NAIA Terminal 3 at 5:05am and will arrive in Basco at 6:50am. The same aircraft will depart Basco on the same day at 8:40am and will arrive in Manila at 10:20am. Sale of seats will happen on a later date following the announcement.
On February 20, 2013, Airphil Express announced through its Facebook Page, that passengers can start booking flights for Batanes starting February 21, 2013 at 12:01am.
For updates and announcements, please check www.airphilexpress.com. You can also follow them on Twitter (@airphilexpress) or like them on Facebook (www.facebook.com/airphilexpressph).
*DISCLAIMER: The above image is only a concept banner by Pinas Muna and does not constitute an official announcement by Airphil Express.