Budget carrier Air Philippines, operator of the AirPhil Express brand, has added another plane to its growing fleet as the company looks to expand its regional operations and become a major contender in the local air travel sector.
In a statement, Air Philippines said it recently took delivery of its 20th plane, a brand-new Airbus A320 leased from Germany.
This brings the number of Air Philippines jets to 12. The company also operates eight turbo-propeller engine aircraft.
The new plane was the second addition to the company’s fleet since the start of 2012.
“The new acquisition is part of the company’s ongoing expansion this year and is seen to help enhance servicing of the budget airline’s continuously expanding routes,” the company said in a statement.
“The budget airline is also aiming to increase its fleet size further to be able to ensure convenient flights daily to more local destinations throughout the country,” it added.
Air Philippines is an affiliate of flag carrier Philippine Airlines. Both carriers are now under the control of conglomerate San Miguel Corp., led by president Ramon S. Ang.
Ang recently announced a plan to have the budget carrier assume all short-haul flights from PAL as part of the airline’s restructuring.
“The additional aircraft could surely help back our growing operations in the country,” said Mayette Siasoco, vice president of the company’s consumer marketing division. “Flyers can look forward to a more enjoyable yet budget-friendly travels in the comforts of our brand-new aircraft.”
The company said it recently added daily flights to Kalibo, Puerto Princesa, Tacloban and Cebu, all coming from Manila. It also increased flights to Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga and Tawi-Tawi out of the company’s hub in Cebu.
Aside from Manila and Cebu, Air Philippines also operates a major hub in Clark Freeport, Pampanga, which is being groomed to replace Metro Manila as home of the country’s premier Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Air Philippines is currently the second-largest budget airline in the country, behind Cebu Pacific.