New player SkyJet Airlines will start commercial flights to Basco, Batanes in Dec. 14, 2012 a welcome development for the province which was practically isolated in the past months from mainland Luzon because of lack of air transportation.
SkyJet Airlines, owned by Magnum Air (SkyJet) Inc. will fly the Manila to Basco and Basco to Manila starting Dec. 14 following the issuance of the Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
Regular flights to Basco and back to Manila will be on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from Terminal 4 of the Manila Domestic Airport. Flight time to Basco, Batanes will be at 5:30 a.m. and to arrive there at about 6:40 a.m., and fly back to Metro Manila at 7:10 a.m.
"We are grateful to CAAP for the speedy issuance to the necessary documents. Now we can fly to unserved and underserved destinations like Batanes which has a great cultural history and tourism potential," said Capt. Tony Buendia, Magnum Air (Skyjet) Inc., Director for Flight Operations.
Dr. Joel Mendoza, chief executive officer and President of Magnum Air, said the SkyJet Airline will now join the elite group of airlines in the Philippines, using the 94-seater BAe 146 jets manufactured by the British Aerospace (BAe) Systems, makers of aircraft used by the British Royal Family, British Airlines, Lufthansa and other European airlines.
Dr. Mendoza said the SkyJet will be a premium carrier to service, 1st in the history of the long neglected Batanes province, but with affordable rate.
SkyJet, Mendoza said was envisioned to be a benchmark in the aviation industry in safety standards, customer care and service. By serving niche destinations, regardless of passenger traffic, "we endeavor to contribute to the country's economy by boosting local tourism while advocating for the preservation of natural resources and cultural heritage, like that of Batanes, a province declared by the government as a protected area during the time of former Governor Telesforo Castillejos and now a candida for the elite National Cultural Heritage of the Philippines.
Aside from the Manila to Basco flights, the SkyJet Airlines will also fly to four other niche destinations, namely Busuaga in Palawan to start Feb. 12, 2013, and soon to Virac in Catanduanes, Catarman in Samar, and Surigao City. The company is now exploring other unserved localities with tourism potentials.
In all these destinations, Skyjet will add a 76-seater 100 jet aircraft with four engines for added safety and faster flights. The unique British jet plane will have a large cargo capabilities to accommodate passengers' extra baggage such as surfboard, scuba gears and other water sporting equipments for a very enjoyable vacation and two flight attendants to serve passengers' needs such as snacks and beverages.
During the early stages of Magnum Air (Skyjet) Inc. Dr. Mendoza brought along a technical team headed by Engr. Stuart Beggs directly from BAe System in the United Kingdom to produce an Aircraft Flight Manuel for the 94-seater BAe-146-200 and four-engine, large cargo 76-seater BAe 100 jet plane.
SkyJet chose Basco airport for its test flights as it has one of the most challenging runways and weather condition in the Philippines and it was declared successful by CAAP and veteran Pilots.
The SkyJet will be handled by veteran BAe 146-200 pilots such as Captains Rosales, Reyna, and Tamayo and other pilots trained by the British Aerospace (BAe) System.