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Southeast Asian Airlines opens Puerto Princesa – Kota Kinabalu flight today

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Southeast Asian Airlines (SEAIR) formally launched today its Puerto Princesa City in Palawan to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia flight, marking the carrier’s entry into the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East Asia Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) market.

Top officials of SEAIR led by its president Avelino Zapanta, together with Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes, Rep. Antonio Alvarez and Puerto Princesa City Vice Mayor Lucilo Bayron led the ribbon cutting ceremony held at the city’s airport terminal building prior to the inaugural flight.

”We are Palawan’s airline”, Zapanta told PNA, citing that for several years that Palawan has been its exciting destination helping spur development in the tourism sector in the province.

”Our program is flying from paradise to paradise”, he added.

He said their airline will bring in tourists from the country’s gateways to the province’s exotic tourism destination.

Zapanta said the opening Puerto Princesa-Kota Kinabalu route is a manifestation of the airline’s commitment being designated as the official government’s carrier in the Brunei- Indonesia- Malaysia- Philippines East Asia Growth Area (BIMP EAGA).

He recognized that previously, a regional airliner already serviced the said international route, but did not prosper.

He said they have implemented “total system approach”, looking on the operational deficiencies like relatively high service and airport charges.

But he believed that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and local government officials will support them by declaring tax holiday on tourists and businessmen coming from BIMP-EAGA member countries in an effort to boost the tourism industry of Palawan.

Meanwhile, Gov. Reyes congratulated the SEAIR for embarking a historic international flight to Malaysia allowing passengers to visit world-renowned destinations in Palawan, whose dilemma is geographical isolation.

Reyes assured the SEAIR management to help in the production of tourism promotion materials in its flight in an effort to sustain the airline operation.

He said the new route will promote air linkages towards enhancement of trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchange between two areas.

He recalled that BIMP-EAGA leaders agreed to have a direct flight between this city and four member countries will increase air traffic and trade linkages.

The leaders approved the granting of Fifth Freedom Traffic Rights that legalizes the facilitation of passengers and cargo services in the airports of Manado and Tarakan in Indonesia; Labuan and Miri in Malaysia; and Puerto Princesa, Palawan and General Santos in the Philippines.

The governor also aired his intention to help SEAIR’s promotional campaign through inclusion of its tourism marketing promo dubbed as “Visit Palawan in 2009”.

The “Visit Palawan in 2009” will be tentatively launched this coming December 15, he said.

In order to drum up the exchange of tourists, Reyes said the provincial government is contemplating to grant travel incentives traveling in the said route.

”We could provide them 2 to 3 days stay in our province and grant travel incentives to them” he said.

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