, APRIL 17, 2007 (STAR) – Hong Kong Airlines has announced that it will have daily flights between Hong Kong and the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) here starting April 20.

The airline offers round trip ticket to and from Hong Kong for only $20, excluding surcharges on a limited basis. The cost includes food and refillable drinks on board. It also free shuttle services for Metro Manila residents who want to take less expensive flights here.

Noting a substantial increase in passenger volume, officials of Hong Kong Airlines Ltd., led by its managing director Li Qiang, expressed optimism that the daily flights would further boost patronage of flights, which were first launched last Dec. 10.

"People in Central Luzon love to travel and Hong Kong has always been a favorite destination," said Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) president Jose Victor Luciano. He noted that the launching of the daily Hong Kong Airlines flights would benefit some 20 million people in Central and Northern Luzon "who would now have an easy and affordable gateway to Hong Kong."

"At the same time, the regular Hong Kong flights at DMIA will also boost prospects of benefiting from the growing number of Chinese tourists estimated at around 40 million travelers a year," he said.

Li explained that services are to be offered to Metro Manila residents who want to fly to Hong Kong at Clark. The ride will be free. Pick up time is at 9 a.m. at Cafe Adriatico, Malate every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and at 2 p.m. and every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

Li also said the airlines is poised to grant additional 10 kilos to the regular 20-kilo baggage allocation for inbound and outbound travelers, which, he said, is 50 percent more than usual.

"The demand for more Hong Kong-Clark flights has been peaking since Disneyland Hong Kong opened last year. At the same time, a surge in Chinese tourist arrivals has been noted at Clark and Angeles City," Luciano said.

"More tourists means more jobs being created," he added.

Li noted that Hong Kong Airlines will be the first international airline to launch "multi-point destinations in the Philippines as part of its expansion program."

He bared that soon, the airline will initiate flights between Hong Kong and Kalibo, and Hong kong and other key cities such as Legaspi, Bohol, Davao, Palawan, Cebu and Manila.

Hong Kong Airlines also flies to Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Cambodia, Singapore and Myanmar. It also flies from Hong Kong to 10 key cities in mainland China, including Guilin, Changsa, Qingdao, Nanning, Kunming, Haikou, Sanya, Tianjin, Xiamen and Fuzhou.

Luciano said Hong Kong Airlines which has a fleet of Boeing 737-800s, "is in the process of rapid growth and has standing orders for the Boeing 777ERs and 787 Dreamlines as it seeks to expand globally as Hong Kong’s second flag carrier."

The airline is owned by billionaires George Soros and Stanley Ho. Hong Kong Airlines Holidays, headed by James Concepcion, is the general sales agent of Hong Kong Airlines in the Philippines.

Concepcion said his firm tied up with Hong Kong Airlines because "of the same vision of developing local tourism by flying to provincial destinations."

Hong Kong Airlines Holidays is an affiliate of the Concepcion Group of Companies, which carries Days Hotel Philippines, VCI Holidays (Vacation Club International), Virra Mall, Stopover and Jetset Magazines.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved