By Leilanie Adriano
LAOAG CITY – Local officials and residents in the province of Ilocos Norte woke up early on Monday to welcome the arrival of Cebu Pacific’s flight 5J 404 from Manila to Laoag with over a hundred passengers aboard.
With the low-cost airline’s resumption of flights to this city, after it stopped operations in January 2017, Ilocos Norte Vice Governor Cecilia Araneta-Marcos said in her speech during the relaunching at the Laoag International Airport that everybody is excited about the budget carrier’s promotional fares and expansion of fleets now reaching a total of 35 routes with Laoag as the latest so far this May.
“Laoag plays a crucial role in preserving the country’s rich history and culture, and Cebu Pacific is excited to finally be able to bring more Juans to this beautiful city,” said Michael Ivan S. Shau, chief corporate affairs officer of Cebu Pacific in a media interview.
Shau hopes that the relaunching of the Manila-Laoag daily flight will encourage more people to travel and experience the best of Ilocos Region.
Laoag serves as the jump-off point for travelers who wanted to go to major tourist destinations such as Pagudpud and Paoay, including Vigan City in neighboring Ilocos Sur province.
The Manila to Laoag flight only takes about an hour of travel compared to the minimum of nine hours when taken by bus.
Cebu Pacific expressed commitment to expand its flight frequency and route availability here and abroad to capture the growing demand for air travel.
After a year of persuading Cebu Pacific to resume its Laoag operation, Perry Martinez, general manager of the Metro Ilocos Norte Council under the Ilocos Norte government, said they are happy that more options are now available.
For the comfort of air passengers arriving at the Laoag airport early, Martinez said they have facilitated the operation of a taxi and a shuttle service to connect passengers to the city proper.
This year, the government plans to spend PHP2.49 billion for the upgrade of at least five airports, including Laoag International Airport, allowing Laoag to facilitate the entry of additional airlines in its gateway. (PNA)