With the like of Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia, the Philippines is about to get a new emerging airline – Royal Air – as it is making its transition from a charter airline to offering regular commercial service. To do so, it is establishing a new hub from Cebu and announced plans for both new routes and the acquisition of jets.
Starting May 20, the emerging airline is set to take on the commercial air travel market of the Philippines by opening flights from Cebu to Manila, Davao, Puerto Princesa, Caticlan, and Cagayan De Oro. Along with the announcement of its operations from Cebu, it will acquire Airbus A319 aircraft for flights to regional cities Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, and Singapore from its Clark hub.
“We expect the aircraft to be here by end of the month, and work out a few certifications from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines so we can use it by July. We’re generally looking at Clark, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Singapore,” Royal Air Philippines Chief Executive Officer Eduardo C. Novillas said in a press launch Friday.
Since its founding in 2002, the carrier has been a charter airline but made the transition to offering regular flights from Clark to Puerto Princesa and Caticlan (Boracay) in December 2018. Along with its current scheduled flights, its charter operations still will make up the majority of its network as it caters to the Chinese tourist market with direct charter flights from Chinese cities and Taiwan to Kalibo and Cagayan. It's current fleet is made up for three 97-seater British Aerospace AVRO 146 RJ-100.
In recent reports, the airline is positioning itself to be a boutique airline offering customers 10 kg of free check-in baggage allowance and not selling “cheap” items on its inflight menu. “We just give a cupcake and a bottled water for free. That’s the basic thing that we have. We also give 10 kilos baggage allowance for free. That’s the branding that we want right now,” Novillas said.
Along with its inflight offerings, Royal Air is partnering with Singapore-based firm Sapphire to develop its inflight entertainment platform to offer customers movies, music and games for free.