The Philippine Airlines announced on Wednesday it is set to launch its first flight between Cebu City and Baguio City this December to coincide with the reopening of commercial flight operations in Loakan Airport.
“This will be PAL’s comeback to the very first destination we served nearly 82 years ago, so we are happy to be flying back to where it all started,” said PAL president and chief operating office Stanley Ng.
“At the same time, we’re inaugurating a brand-new service, linking two progressive tourist and business destinations – the Queen City of the South and the City of Pines.”
PAL’s first flight as a newly incorporated airline was a Manila-Baguio service flown out of Manila’s Neilson Airport on March 15, 1941. The PAL Beechcraft Model 18 carried five passengers to Baguio City, ushering in the dawn of the aviation age for the Philippines and Asia.
“We laud the Department of Transportation, under the leadership of Secretary Jaime J. Bautista and CAAP Director General Manuel Antonio Tamayo, for upgrading Loakan Airport to enable safe and reliable airline services to and from Baguio City,” Ng said.
“We will work with the aviation authorities, the local governments and the travel community to make our Cebu-Baguio flights a success,” he added.
The Department of Tourism sees the move as an introduction of Baguio to the international market, noting that Cebu is an international gateway.
“We at the DOT will continually push for the opening of new local and domestic routes to cater to more tourists in line with our vision to improve connectivity into and around the country. PAL’s new Cebu-Baguio route will certainly provide new opportunities that would propel closer interaction between two of the most prominent tourism destinations in the country,” said Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco.
“We are excited to showcase the new tourism products and circuits in the Cordilleras – from creative crawls in Baguio to farm and gastronomic experiential tours, crafts and arts shopping, not to mention a glimpse of its diverse culture; this new route will undoubtedly increase arrivals and spur economic activities to the Cordilleras and create demand for investment and employment for our fellow Filipinos,” she added.
Beginning Dec. 16, PAL will operate four weekly Cebu-Baguio-Cebu flights with convenient morning departures:
• PR 2230 Cebu-Baguio – every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday departing Mactan Cebu at 08:50 a.m., arriving at Baguio Loakan Airport at 10:50 a.m.
• PR 2231 Baguio-Cebu – every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday departing Baguio at 11:10 a.m., arriving in Cebu at 01:00 p.m.
The Cebu-Baguio flights will be operated with De Havilland Dash 8 Series 400 Next Generation aircraft, a high-performance turboprop offering faster speed and jet-like comfort in a quieter cabin.
Baguio is home to popular tourist spots – Burnham Park, Camp John Hay, Baguio Cathedral and Mines View Park among many others – and to the Baguio City Economic Zone hosting major multinational firms in the electronics, technology, BPO and clothing industries.
“Our direct flight will enable passengers in the central Visayas to enjoy a two-hour journey to Northern Luzon and vice versa, without the hassle of booking multiple connecting trips via both land and air,” said PAL express officer-in-charge Rabbi Ang.
“We also see this new service as an opportunity to further boost domestic tourism, as Filipinos plan their holiday getaways for the Christmas peak season and for 2023. We assure all travelers that strict safety and health protocols will be observed on all our flights.”
The government is hoping the resumption of commercial flights in and out of the city will play a key role in convincing high-end tourists to prioritize Baguio City as one of their preferred destinations that will help in speeding up the revival of the local tourism industry which is one of the city’s economic drivers.