FLAG CARRIER Philippine Airlines, Inc. (PAL) announced on Monday that it will expand its direct flights between its hub in Cebu City and Mindanao with a new service to Cotabato City beginning Dec. 1.

The Cebu-Cotabato flights are expected “support the revival of domestic tourism and business activities” in the country, PAL said in an e-mailed statement, adding that it is gearing up for the December peak holiday season by offering more flights out of Cebu to serve travelers in Visayas and Mindanao.

“We hope to contribute positively to the economic development of Cotabato City and the Bangsamoro region by launching this new link to progressive Cotabato City,” PAL noted. “We want to do our part to connect families, encourage healthy business growth and spur holiday travel between these vital regions of the country.”

Starting Dec. 1, PAL will offer twice weekly flights — every Monday and Thursday — between Cebu and Cotabato.

PAL also said that it will offer flights between Cotabato City and Boracay, Coron, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Clark, Iloilo, Puerto Princesa, Tacloban, Siargao, and Baguio starting Dec. 16 by connecting through the airline’s Cebu hub, rather than connecting via Manila.

“Travelers will also enjoy a seamless one-stop journey from Cebu to Tawi-Tawi (and vice versa) twice a week, as the Cebu-Cotabato flight is linked to a Cotabato- Tawi-Tawi sector,” it added. 

Meanwhile, low-cost carrier Philippines AirAsia, Inc. (AirAsia Philippines) said it sees a strong uptrend in demand in the fourth quarter after ending October with a 90% passenger load.

The airline “aims to sustain demand for leisure travel with its … PISO Sale,” AirAsia Philippines said in a statement on Monday.

The weekly flight frequency of AirAsia Philippines to various destinations increased beginning Nov. 1, including flights between Manila and Cebu, Tacloban, Caticlan, Cagayan De Oro, Davao, and Iloilo.

Weekly flights out of the AirAsia Cebu hub to Davao and Cagayan are now at four times, Caticlan seven times, and Puerto Princesa three times.

“AirAsia Philippines is also expecting Filipinos to plan their international travels for the December holidays as early as November,” the airline said.

“With this, weekly international flights from Manila to Bangkok (Don Mueang) have been increased to 11 times, and to Seoul (Incheon) to 10 times.  Hong Kong flights were also increased to three times a week by December,” it added.

To sustain the travel momentum into 2023,  the airline rolled out on Monday the third leg of its PISO Sale (from Nov. 7 to 13), an offering that slashes base fares to P1 to metro cities like Cebu and Davao, as well as leading leisure destinations like Caticlan and Tagbilaran.

“The PISO Sale is available for travels happening from May 1, 2023, to March 20, 2024,” the airline said.

“During the sale event, base fares to international destinations such as Kuala Lumpur, Osaka, Kota Kinabalu, Hong Kong, Seoul, Bangkok, and Bali also dropped to as low as P511,” the company noted. — Arjay L. Balinbin