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Skyjet flies to Virac July 1

Set to fill the void to be left behind by Zest Airlines is newcomer Skyjet, which plans to operate a leased 94-seater British Aerospace BAe146-200 to the capital town beginning July 1.

Its first flight to Catanduanes is scheduled just two days after Zest Air’s MA60 jetprop makes its takeoff from Virac airport on June 29. Leased from Lionair Inc. with an option to buy, fhe four-engine Skyjet’s flight time to Manila will be just 40 minutes, shaving 25 minutes off ZestAir’s usual flight duration.

It will also fly to Virac on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, which would ensure that there will be daily airplane flights to the island.

Seats on board the jet, however, would be slightly costly as the airline plans to offer full hospitality and inflight service: unlimited snack and drinks, and newspapers. “Snack items like mamon, chips, coffee, water and soda will be offered after take-off and passengers can still ask for a second round and refill of drinks anytime they want,” the airline said.

At present, Skyjet flies to Batanes three times a week, with a one-way ticket costing P6,200. The airline’s chief executive officer, Dr. Joel Mendoza, is also director of the Batanes Cultural Travel Agency (BCTA). The airline has two BAE146-200s and a Dornier 328 charter plane, with a lighter, 72-seater BAe 146-100 aircraft set to be acquired.

A source told the Tribune that negotiations are on-going between the airline and Zest Air ticket outlet manager Capt. Ivanhoe Arcilla, who is being wooed to represent the airline in Virac as general sales agent. Arcilla reportedly prefers a no-frills flight, as most Virac air commuters travel to Manila out of necessity, to make the route’s fares more competitive with that of Cebu Pacific Air.

The airline has also promised assistance to the provincial government in promoting tourism destinations in Catanduanes.

Skyjet’s bid to secure a temporary permit to operate to Virac from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) has received support from the Provincial Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Council (PMSMEDC) and the Sangguniang Bayan of Virac, which passed similar resolutions asking CAB to allow Skyjet flights to Virac.

Source: Catanduanes Tribune

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