AirAsia Philippines is officially bringing its brand of inclusive and attainable flying to the City of Gentle People, Dumaguete City! The successful inaugural flight on 08 April kickstarts the airline’s operations in its 15th domestic destination.
The maiden flight Z2 641, which departed from the NAIA Terminal 4 at 7:00 am, arrived at the Dumaguete-Sibulan Airport at 8:25 am carrying 180 passengers including AirAsia CEO Ricky Isla, airasia Super App Managing Director Ray Berja, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Deputy Director General Capt. Donaldo Mendoza, Undersecretary Woodrow Maquiling Jr. representing Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat, and Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) GM, CEO Atty. Bienvenido Chy and members of the media.
The guests on flight Z2 641 were greeted by a colorful cultural dance and a Talihi ritual at the tarmac. Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo, Dumaguete City Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo and Sibulan Mayor Jose Abiera also led other local officials and stakeholders in welcoming the guests.
Its return flight to Manila, Z2 642, departed Dumaguete Airport at 9:05 am which arrived at the NAIA T4 at 10:25 am.
Initially, AirAsia is set to fly to Dumaguete City 4x weekly, every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
AirAsia CEO Ricky Isla said, “We are happy to have successfully launched our maiden flight in Dumaguete. With AirAsia now being present in the Dumaguete air space, we hope to drive tourists into the city and the entire Negros Oriental province, positioning the City of Gentle People as the gateway to this region. We are confident that this expansion will also help in stimulating commerce and growth in other sectors, such as ICT and trade.”
“This is almost 2 years in the making! The pandemic may have slowed down the opening of this route but as Allstars, we have this never stop attitude. We are geared at changing the game by offering the people of Negros Oriental and nearby provinces a valuable option for flights and other services that our Super App will offer.”
Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade said, “The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the whole Aviation sector will remain in full support of the airline industry and its endeavors through the continuous modernization of our airports nationwide and the implementation of important initiatives that will create an all-embracing atmosphere, wherein the so-called life of comfort and convenience will be experienced by all. May many more opportunities in various parts of the country blossom, dahil hindi lamang ito para sa AirAsia kung hindi para sa Pilipino. Let’s get AirAsia’s Manila to Dumaguete flight off and running!”
Undersecretary Woodrow Maquiling Jr. said, “Needless to say, the lifeblood of Philippine tourism is access and connectivity. As an archipelago where tourists and travelers can only reach us by air (and by sea), expansion initiatives like this is critical as we pursue a “safe, fun and competitive tourism destination” for the Philippines, and delivering on a promise of a complete travel experience that is richer, deeper, more authentic, more competitive, and ultimately, more Filipino.”
To celebrate AirAsia’s successful launch in Negros Oriental, a music fest was held at the Pantawan, Rizal Boulevard. Dumaguetenos were serenaded by the performances of award winning singer and songwriter KZ Tandingan and other top tier artists Jimmy Marquez and Leah Patricio. They were also joined by homegrown music artists from Dumaguete with their jaw-dropping performances.
The event culminated with a grand fireworks display, showcasing the colors of victory and triumph rising above the challenges brought by the pandemic.
The City of Gentle People attracts local and foreign tourists because of its easy access to other key cities in Central Visayas such as Cebu and the availability of world-class beach and dive resorts in nearby municipalities. Dumaguete is also becoming an Information Communications Technology (ICT) Hub with a number of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies investing in the city.
But more than tourism and commerce, Dumaguete has also become a retirement haven. In fact, the city was given the status as the Best Retirement Area Deemed as Retiree-Friendly (RADAR) by the DOT and PRA.
The city accepts local and foreign tourists with just the vaccination card as entry requirements. To date, 10,475 tourists have visited the province according to the Dumaguete Tourism Office. Pre pandemic a total of 848,670 tourists visited the city of gentle people.
The World’s Best Low-Cost Airline is also reminding its guests especially those returning to Dumaguete and Negros Oriental on election day that the Fly home to vote – P268 (one-way base fare) and return for FREE is still available until 10 April. Guests who avail this promo can opt to use their FREE return ticket until 30 September 2022.