SEAir seeking flight entitlements to Papua New Guinea


South East Asian Airlines (SEAir) is seeking to fly to Papua New Guinea, a regulatory filing with the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) showed.

SEAir has applied for 1,440 seat entitlements, the filing showed.

The airline said 720 seats would be used for the Clark to Port Moresby route and another 720 seats would be for Manila to Port Moresby. It plans to use Airbus A319 and A320 planes.

CAB is scheduled to hold a hearing on June 27 to decide on the petition.

SEAir said the request was made in accordance to the existing confidential memorandum of understanding entered into by the governments of the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.

SEAir, which claims to be the country’s second-oldest airline after flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL), flies to several popular domestic vacation spots in the country and overseas.

It currently mounts flights to Bacolod, Cebu, Iloilo, Puerto Princesa, Tacloban, Kalibo, Clark in the Philippines. Overseas, it flies to Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore and Kota Kinabalu.

Its fleet of medium-range planes is composed of two Airbus A319s and three Airbus A320s.

The airline competes with larger players like Gokongwei-led Cebu Air Inc., which operates Cebu Pacific, and PAL.

CAB data showed that SEAir had served 209,979 passengers in the first quarter, much higher than the comparative 10,037 passengers it flew last year as it added planes. This translated to a market share of about 4.14 percent.

Overseas, SEAir flew 78,708 passengers, up 22 percent, for a market share of 1.74 percent, CAB data showed.

SEAir is 40-percent owned by Tiger Airways, which is partly owned by Singapore Airlines. Filipino shareholders led by Tomas B. Lopez own the remaining 60 percent.

Tiger Airways made the acquisition of the SEAir stake last year as part of a regional expansion push that also included the purchase of a 33-percent stake in Mandala Airlines in Indonesia. Miguel R. Camus

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