Exploring the Philippine islands can be a challenge. While the archipelago has a few noteworthy islands to visit such as Boracay, Cebu, and Palawan, getting around has long been reserved to flying the major commercial airliners or by a bus/boat combination. Foreign travellers often have to connect at air hubs such as Manila or Cebu to get around the country. One airline, Philippine-based Air Juan, is providing a boost for the regions of Cebu and the Visayas using seaplanes.
The airline has opened up a new seaplane terminal at the Filinvest South Road Properties (SRP) in Cebu City, which according to Air Juan President John Gutierrez could connect Cebu to popular tourist destinations such as Gigantes in Iloilo, Panglao, and Anda in Bohol, and El Nido or Coron in Palawan via seaplane.
While Air Juan operates seaplanes from its existing base at Manila Bay, it also operates land-based aircraft on various routes throughout the Philippines. The airline has been in operation since it started charter flights in 2014. From its beginnings, it has since expanded to offer regular scheduled and charter flights using helicopters, land-based planes, and seaplanes.
Air Juan is seizing the opportunity being the first and only seaplane operator not just in the Philippines, but also throughout Southeast Asia. “We have more than 7,000 islands and not all have infrastructure like airports or runways. Filipinos should have invested on seaplanes earlier. We are happy to be the first,” Gutierrez said.
Seaplane services has been seen as a viable option for travel in the Philippines, where not all locations have access to airports. Travel to popular attractions often require navigating through a combination of boats, buses, and in some cases going to major air hubs to take a flight on one of the major Philippine carriers.
The new seaplane base out of Cebu would be convenient option for travellers in the Philippines wanting to shave off travel time during their next vacation, or to get to a meeting in a nearby town or island.