GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Tigerair became the latest airline to service the Manila-General Santos route following its maiden flight Friday afternoon.
A sister company of Cebu Pacific, Tigerair will initially fly 5 times a week bringing the average number of daily flights here to six to accommodate more than 1,000 passengers flying out of this city every day.
Like Cebu Pacific, it will also offer budget fares with the lowest one-way ticket starting at P2,008.
“Tigeriar looks forward to offering additional flight and destination options for tis guests,” Tigerair legal and corporate affairs chief Leilani de Leon said.
Department of Tourism Regional Director Nelly Nita Dillera said Tigerair’s entry into the Manila-General Santos City route will augur well for the region.
“It will boost the local economy and provide additional facilities for connectivity,” she described Tigerair’s decision to service the increasing passenger traffic in General Santos City.
Tigerair will use the Airbus 320 aircraft which has a capacity of 180 passengers.
It will depart Manila at 12:30 pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays and will arrive in General Santos at 2:20 pm. On Mondays, it will depart Manila at 2:00 pm with scheduled arrival of 3:50 pm.
The return flight will leave General Santos at 3:00 pm every Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. On Mondays, it will depart at 4:30 pm and at 3:10 pm on Thursdays.
In addition to Tigerair, also already servicing the Manila-General Santos City route are Philippine Airlines which uses the wide-bodied Airbus 330-300 and Cebu Pacific.
Air Asia will likewise soon open its daily flights to this city.
General Santos City became the hub of air passenger traffic following the entry of budget airlines which competed against seafares of super ferries that eventually stopped plying the Manila-General Santos City sea route.
Dillera said this has boosted tourism in the region with a total of 1.67 million arrivals from January to September.
General Santos City Airport administration officer Dante Fernandez said they expect passenger traffic to increase to more than 1,600 a day during the Christmas season.
The Department of Transportation and Communication has already submitted a P900-million budget for the proposed new airport terminal building in General Santos following the increase in passenger traffic over the last few years.
The airport, funded on USAID grant, was built in 1993 and opened to commercial operations in 1996.
When it was finished, it had the longest airport runway outside of NAIA with more than 3,000 meters of all-weather taxiway.