AirAsia Philippines Plans To Open Ormoc-Manila Flights

AirAsia Philippines representatives meet with Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez and councilors Vincent Rama, Lalaine Marcos, and Roiland Villasencio. Photo by Roi Villasencio/Facebook
AirAsia Philippines representatives meet with Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez and councilors Vincent Rama, Lalaine Marcos, and Roiland Villasencio. Photo by Roi Villasencio/Facebook

Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez met with top executives of AirAsia Philippines, on July 17, to discuss the possibility of having Manila to Ormoc flights in the future.

Mayor Richard, along with councilors Vince Rama, Roiland Villasencio, and Lalaine Marcos, had a breakfast meeting with AirAsia Philippines CEO Captain Dexter Comendador, head of security Alexander Tuprio, ground safety officer Christopher Garcia, and corporate security director Captain Johansen Hernandez.

Captain Comendador revealed that they visited the newly inaugurated Ormoc City Airport to check if it can accommodate an Airbus already. He said that Air Asia Philippines, which is known to be a leisure airline, considers Ormoc as one of its new destinations. Garcia added that the airline company’s marketing team would be dropping by the city to record the so-called “places of interest” in #theCityofBeautifulPeople and nearby towns.

While AirAsia Philippines has yet to conduct a feasibility study, Mayor Richard expressed confidence that the company would recognize the need for the proposed Manila-Ormoc flight. Should things be finalized soon, this would not only cater Ormocanons but all neighboring cities and municipalities in the western side of Leyte as well.

In May, the Leading Edge Air Services Corp. (LEASCOR) also announced plans to expand its operations in Eastern Visayas by operating in the Ormoc City Airport. LEASCOR Vice Chairman Gilbert Llanto revealed the airline could offer Ormoc-Cebu flights and introduce a hub-in, hub-off concept of operations, which means the plane would take passengers from Guiuan or Borongan in Eastern Samar before it lands in Ormoc to pick-up passengers bound for Cebu.

To recall, President Rodrigo Duterte and Department of Transportation (DOTs) Secretary Arthur P. Tugade led the Ormoc Airport Development Project inauguration on July 5. From 150 to 1,350 square meters, the newly rehabilitated passenger terminal building is expected to accommodate more customers in the area.

The strip grade correction and the asphalt overlay projects are now completed. The runway widening project, on the other hand, is projected to be finished in 2020.

“Inviting commercial airline to operate in Ormoc is always part of the plan. It will energize the economy and people who are from the city and neighboring areas. We don’t have to travel to Tacloban because we have an operational airport in Ormoc,” 4th District of Leyte Representative Lucy Torres-Gomez stated in her speech during the airport’s inauguration.

The DOTr aims to complete the upgrade of 27 airports in the country before President Duterte ends his term in 2022. “Connectivity and mobility in transport are key components in socio-economic development. By building new airports and rehabilitating existing ones, the transportation sector contributes to both regional and national progress,” Transportation Secretary Tugade said.