Another airline operates at Bacolod-Silay airport

AirAsia Philippines CEO Ricardo Isla (2nd from right) leads the official launching of the inaugural flight from Manila-Bacolod City, along with Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia (4th from left), and AirAsia Philippines chairman Jomar Castillo (3rd from left), and chief commercial head Gilbert Simpao (right) at the Bacolod-Silay Airport in Silay City, Negros Occidental Sunday. (Glazyl Y. Masculino)

By: Glazyl Y. Masculino

SILAY City – AirAsia Philippines officially launched its maiden flight from Manila-Bacolod City at the Bacolod-Silay Airport here in Negros Occidental on Sunday.

The aircraft boarded by some officials and guests was welcomed with a water cannon salute upon landing. It is the third airline operating in the province’s airport, aside from the Philippine Airlines and budget airline Cebu Pacific.

The official launching of the inaugural flights was led by AirAsia Philippines chief operating officer (CEO) Ricardo Isla, along with Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia, AirAsia Philippines chairman Jomar Castillo, and chief commercial head Gilbert Simpao, as well as other airport officials.

According to Isla, Bacolod City is the 12th domestic destination of the airline, which is looking at the “City of Smiles” as a “very promising” hub for AirAsia Philippines.

“AirAsia’s presence in the region will make air travel “more affordable” not just for Negrenses but for everyone who wants to explore this part of the country,” he said.

“We are excited to celebrate this milestone and to paint the Negros Island skies red,” he said, as he also thanked the city government particularly Leonardia, for taking on a decisive role in the discussion to establish the route.

“We are happy to be part of the growing Bacolod. We are honored that we’re part of Bacolod not only in providing socio-economic programs but more importantly in boosting the tourism in the city. Moving forward, we know that Bacolod is going to be one of the fastest key city destinations and we will continuously expand and build in more flights in the future,” Isla said. “This will start our own progressive partnership,” he added.

In response, Leonardia said that the entry of AirAsia in the province is a “game changer.”

“It’s like having a new member of the family. That changes the complexion of things. This could be a game changer,” the mayor said.

Leonardia said that having more players in the game will always “be healthy” for the consumers.

He thanked AirAsia for “responding in time when there is an uproar on the overpricing of airfares. I hope their presence will affect the so-called law of supply and demand.”

“There’s so many uproar…it has come to a point that passengers go to Iloilo to fly to Manila because it’s less expensive,” he said.

He said with the entry of AirAsia, it will also increase the volume of tourism arrivals in Bacolod.

He also thanked AirAsia vice chairman Mikee Romero and also the representative of 1-Pacman party-list, whom he invited to the 40th MassKara Festival to promise the people of Bacolod that AirAsia will land here.