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AirTrav launches flights to Clark, Puerto Galera

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DENISE A. VALDEZ

AIRTRAV Corp. (AirTrav PH), a local company that offers air charter services, has started flying its new sea plane from Manila to Clark and Puerto Galera.

Jacob S. Cusi, president of AirTrav PH, told reporters at the company’s press launch in Pasay City, the company aims to acquire a new amphibian plane in August or September and another one before the year ends.

Amphibian planes are a type of aircraft that may land on both land and water.

“The market is very good now that tourism is booming for the Philippines. It’s very high. Industry also in Clark, the commerce, it’s very good. We have a lot of tourists coming in from China, Korea, all over the world. It’s increasing every year,” he said.

Aside from fleet expansion, the company also plans to expand its destinations to Visayas within the year and to Mindanao by next year.

“Hopefully we could still expand by next year for further destinations down south. Hopefully also in Mindanao, by next year,” Mr. Cusi said.

AirTrav PH used to offer only chopper services using a Robinson R-44 Raven II when it started operations five years ago.

In a statement, the company said it used to provide its services for ride-hailing company Uber Philippines for its Uber Chopper offer in 2015.

In March, it took delivery of its amphibian plane, the Cessna Grand Caravan 208. The eight-seater aircraft is its first and only sea plane. Mr. Cusi said the firm aims to fly at least 500 passengers using the Cessna this year.

Mr. Cusi added a brand new amphibian plane costs $3 million. “Based on our study, usually the average ROI (return of investment) of an aircraft, if you factor in your costs properly, usually it’s three to five years,” he noted. — Denise A. Valdez