WELCOME BACK. Passengers arrive at the Laoag International Airport on Monday (May 22, 2023) via Cebu Pacific flight 5J 404. The Manila-Laoag-Manila route operates daily. (Photo courtesy of PNA)
By Amado Inigo
LAOAG CITY – The province of Ilocos Norte witnessed an early morning gathering of local officials and residents on Monday as they eagerly awaited the arrival of Cebu Pacific’s flight 5J 404 from Manila to Laoag, carrying over a hundred passengers.
With the low-cost airline’s decision to resume operations in this city after halting services in January 2017, Ilocos Norte Vice Governor Cecilia Araneta-Marcos expressed her excitement during the relaunching ceremony at Laoag International Airport.
She highlighted the budget carrier’s attractive promotional fares and expanded fleet, which now encompasses a total of 35 routes, with Laoag being the latest addition this May.
“Laoag holds a significant role in preserving our country’s rich history and culture, and Cebu Pacific is thrilled to bring more travelers to this beautiful city,” said Michael Ivan S. Shau, the chief corporate affairs officer of Cebu Pacific, in a media interview.
Shau hopes that the reintroduction of the daily Manila-Laoag flight will inspire more people to explore and enjoy the best of the Ilocos Region.
Laoag serves as a starting point for travelers heading to renowned tourist destinations such as Pagudpud, Paoay, and Vigan City in the neighboring province of Ilocos Sur.
Opting for the Manila to Laoag flight allows passengers to reach their destination in just an hour, significantly shorter than the minimum nine-hour bus journey.
Cebu Pacific has expressed its commitment to expanding flight frequencies and route options both domestically and internationally to meet the growing demand for air travel.
After a year of persistent efforts to persuade Cebu Pacific to resume operations in Laoag, Perry Martinez, the general manager of the Metro Ilocos Norte Council under the Ilocos Norte government, expressed delight at the increased options now available.
To ensure the convenience of early-arriving air passengers at Laoag Airport, Martinez stated that they have facilitated taxi and shuttle services to transport passengers to the city center.
This year, the government has allocated PHP2.49 billion for the enhancement of at least five airports, including Laoag International Airport. This investment will enable Laoag to accommodate additional airlines and further develop its aviation gateway. (ai/mtvn)