Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pacific Pearl to start $10-M Subic project

SUBIC BAY FREE PORT—A low-cost airline which has established its base of operations here has announced the start of its $10-million project to fly chartered planes to various tourist destinations in the country and abroad.

Pacific Pearl Airways (PPA), a private airline established in 2006, said it will begin flying out of the Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) in December this year.

Airline president Kristoffer Jimenez, who signed the firm’s business contract with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) last week, said PPA will initially field two advanced Boeing 737-200 jets for international flights and some turboprop aircraft for local flights.

Jimenez said local destinations will initially be to popular tourism spots like Boracay, Bohol, Cebu and Davao. But as PPA begins to establish its presence in the local airline industry, the company will expand its local flight destinations.

According to the airline official, the Subic Bay Free Port has a “very strategic location.”

“A lot of tourists come here, foreigners and locals alike. It is also a booming place in terms of businesses,” Jimenez added, ticking off the advantages of locating in Subic.

To attract its potential market, Jimenez said PPA “will be offering competitive rates without sacrificing quality service costs,” an advantage he said was made possible by tax incentives and other perks offered by the SBMA.

He added that his company also intends to “eliminate stop-over hassles” with direct flights, thereby significantly cutting travel lag time.

This would allow Pacific Pearl passengers to gain more savings and more quality holidays, said Jimenez.

Meanwhile, SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza said during the contract-signing ceremonies that PPA’s $10-million investment pledge is “proof of Subic Bay’s economic resiliency.”

“What we have witnessed now proves that there’s still life after FedEx,” said Arreza, adding that the SBMA has been trying to attract more locators to the SBIA.

FedEx, the US courier giant that used SBIA as its Asia-Pacific hub since 1998, transferred its hub operations to China in February, bowing to realities of the expanding Chinese market.

Arreza, however, pointed out that because of its international airport, “Subic can host just about any kind of air-transport requirements.”

Arreza cited that the SBIA’s cargo-sorting capability has its edge over other airports in the country today. Written by Henry Empeño / Business Mirror Correspondent

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