2 Chinese airlines to launch flights to PHL

THE interest of Chinese carriers to mount flights to the Philippines is on a steady rise, with two airlines signifying their desire to fly to Philippine destinations any time soon.

Based on filings to the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), Okay Airways Co. Ltd. and Sichuan Airlines Corp. Ltd. are planning to launch flights from China to the Philippines after securing their foreign-air carrier’s permit.

The permit is license issued by the board, and approved by the President of the Philippines, authorizing a foreign-air carrier to engage in foreign air-transportation services.

Okay Airways is a Chinese carrier whose main hub is at Tianjin Binhai International Airport in northeastern China.

Sichuan Airlines hubs at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport in western China.

“The interest from Chinese airlines is strong,” CAB executive Director Carmelo L. Arcilla told the BusinessMirror. “The number of our arrivals from China is growing.”

China posted the second-highest growth rate among the Philippines’s market sources for tourists in the first two months of the year. It is now the third-largest tourist market for the Philippines.

Data from the Department of Tourism showed arrivals from China jumped by 25.42 percent to 164,199 visitors in January and February this year.

Beijing promised to send 1 million tourists to the country this year. This will help the Philippines exceed its original 6.5-million, visitor-arrivals target by more than 1.5 million tourists.

Total visitor arrivals for the first two months of the year grew by 10.88 percent to 1.21 million. For February alone, 579,178 visitors were recorded, an increase of 27.81 percent​ ​over the past​ ​​four years and 5.36 percent higher ​than​ the same period last year.