PAL to launch 2-hour trip connecting Cebu and Baguio

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By Miguel Camus, Inquirer Business

Travel from Cebu’s famed beaches to the hiking trails of Baguio would soon be possible in less time than it takes to crawl through Metro Manila’s daily traffic.

Philippine Airlines (PAL) announced the launch of a two-hour route linking the Cebu Airport with the Baguio Loakan Airport beginning Dec. 16 this year.

It was a comeback service of sorts for the region’s oldest airline, whose inaugural trip in March 15, 1941 was flight from Manila to Baguio using a Beechcraft Model 18 with five passengers on onboard.

Those flights were eventually discontinued, but PAL president and chief operating officer Stanley K. Ng said they were proud to revive flights to Baguio through the Queen City of the South.

“We are happy to be flying back to where it all started,” Ng said in a statement.

The Cebu-Baguio flights will be operated using PAL’s fleet of De Havilland Dash 8 Series 400 turboprop aircraft.

The flag carrier will begin Cebu-Baguio operations with four weekly flights on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Flights would depart Cebu at 8:50 a.m. and arrive in Baguio at 10:50 a.m. The return trip would leave Baguio at 11:10 a.m. and arrive in Cebu at 1:00 p.m.

Baguio City is home to popular tourist spots such as Burnham Park, Camp John Hay, Baguio Cathedral and Mines View Park. It also hosts the Baguio City Economic Zone, a hub for manufacturers and business process outsourcing firms.

“Our direct flight will enable passengers in the central Visayas to enjoy a two-hour journey to Northern Luzon and vice versa, without the hassle of booking multiple connecting trips via both land and air,” PAL express officer-in-charge Rabbi Ang said in the statement.

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“We also see this new service as an opportunity to further boost domestic tourism, as Filipinos plan their holiday getaways for the Christmas peak season and for 2023. We assure all travelers that strict safety and health protocols will be observed on all our flights,” Ang added.

PAL’s Baguio flights were part of the airline’s expansion strategy for the Cebu hub, which also has connections to various cities in Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao. PAL also operates flights between Cebu and Tokyo Narita in Japan.

In the statement, Ng also acknowledged the role of government, including the Department of Transportation and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, in upgrading the Loakan Airport.

“We will work with the aviation authorities, the local governments and the travel community to make our Cebu-Baguio flights a success,” Ng said.