Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sky Jet to start Batanes commercial flights in May

Sky Jet, a new airline, on Wednesday announced that commercial flights to Basco, Batanes, would start in May after successful provisional flights using its new aircraft.
“Sky Jet’s commercial flights are definitely in the pipeline… We are just wrapping up regulatory documents with the government,” Jun Perez, Sky Jet human resources and legal department head, told GMA News Online in a phone interview.
Perez noted their 94-seater BAe 146-200 jet started provisional flights last March 14. The flights were chartered by the Batanes Cultural Travel Agency.
“We are also looking at bringing new aircraft in the last week of April to the first week of May,” he said.
The new aircraft will be a 72-seater BAe 146-100, a lighter version of the BAe 146-200.
A one-way ticket to Basco costs P6,400, while special rates of P5,800 to P6,000 will be given to the indigenous Ivatans.
Currently, only SEAIR offers commercial flights to the Philippine’s northern tip costing around P7,500 to P8,500.
“It is hard to sustain tourist influx when you are faced with problems such as high cost of airfares and unreliable flight schedules,” Joel Mendoza, owner of Sky Jet Airlines, said in a statement Wednesday.
To most airlines, Batanes is a “missionary” route, Mendoza noted. “And it truly is, because the population alone cannot sustain the business.”
“So we had to think of a win-win solution. Setting up Sky Jet ensures that we could continue with our advocacy of helping Batanes,” Mendoza added.
“When I first set foot in Batanes, I could hardly believe a place like it exists in the Philippines. And after interacting with the people, I just got blown away,” he said.
“Their honesty, simplicity, kindness and the whole of their culture is so different in a good way,” Mendoza, who is married to an Ivatan, added.
Sky Jet is operated by Lionair Incorporated. —VS, GMA News

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