Sunday, 13 September 2009

New airline sets up home base at Subic Airport

Manila Bulletin

Pacific Pearl Airways (PPA), a private airline offering domestic and foreign chartered flights, has set up its home base at the Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) with plans to invest $10 million for its startup operations in December this year.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) administrator Armand Arreza, who signed the memorandum of agreement with Jimenez last week, considered this latest investment here as proof of Subic Bay’s economic resiliency.

“What we have witnessed now proves that there’s still life after FedEx,” said Arreza, referring to the US courier giant which used this free port as its Asia-Pacific hub. Last February, FedEx transferred to China, where domestic cargo volume alone exceeds that of Asia.

PPA president Kristoffer Jimenez said the airline will start with two advanced Boeing 737-200 jet planes capable of seating 114 passengers for international flights, and turboprop aircraft for initial domestic flights from here to Boracay, Bohol, Cebu, and Davao.

“Local flight destinations will expand as PPA establishes its presence in the local airline industry,” Jimenez said. He added that PPA will be offering competitive rates without sacrificing quality service costs – an advantage that he said was made possible by tax incentives and other perks offered by this free port.

Jimenez also said that PPA will eliminate stop-over hassles with its direct flights, enabling passengers to gain more savings and more quality holidays as it significantly cuts travel lag time.

Arreza said that being an international airport, the SBIA can host just about any kind of air transport requirements, singling out Subic’s cargo-sorting capability as its edge over other airports in the country today.

“We urge cargo airliners to start making their inquiries here at the SBIA this early, and see for themselves its complete cargo-sorting facility, and the Freeport advantages that made FedEx’s operation here successful,” said Arreza.

Arreza also said he expects more flights to and from Subic in the near future, as the SBMA aggressively promotes business and tourism establishments here.

“A lot of tourists come to Subic – foreigners and locals alike. It is also a booming place in terms of businesses,” said Jimenez, who also called on interested applicants for pilots, cabin crew, and maintenance personnel to inquire at PPA’s office at the SBIA.

Pearl Pacific Airways was organized in September 2006 and is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, with necessary permits from the Philippine Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) and the Air Transportation Office (ATO).

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