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Royal Air expands operations with more flights and aircraft

Aviation Updates Philippines – Boutique airline Royal Air Philippines, on Monday, launched more domestic flights out of the airlines' newly-inaugurated Cebu hub. 
BOUTIQUE AIRLINE. The airline CEO Mr. Eduardo Novillas said that the airline is neither a budget airline nor a legacy carrier, but it classifies itself as a boutique airline. Photo by Dirk Salcedo.
Flights from Cebu to Manila, Davao, Puerto Princesa, and Caticlan were launched yesterday, May 20, using the 97-seat British Aerospace Avro RJ100 aircraft. The inaugural flight between Cebu and Cagayan de Oro is scheduled today, May 21.

Cebu-Manila flies daily, while Cebu-Davao, Cebu-Puerto Princesa, Cebu-Caticlan fly four times weekly. On the other hand, Cebu-Cagayan de Oro flies thrice weekly.

The Clark-based airline announced its plans to venture into the Visayan and Mindanaoan tourism market two months ago. At that time, Royal Air only caters charter flights and scheduled services from Clark to Puerto Princesa and Caticlan.

During the inaugural festivities at the Davao International Airport on Monday, Royal Air Philippines chief executive officer Eduardo Novillas emphasized the significance of the Davao market in the airline and tourism industry: “By traffic alone and tourism assessment, it appears and it is very obvious that Davao is the next generation [destination]. So we wanted to promote Davao by flying four times a week here.”

Novillas also revealed that it is aiming to expand to daily operations here in Davao in the next two to three months of flying. Services between Manila and Davao are also being considered.

Furthermore, he described the Cebu-Davao route to be 'selling like hotcakes'. The inaugural flight brought in 87 passengers from Cebu, that's almost 90 percent load factor.

The airline executive hopes to maintain at least 80 percent load factor to further stimulate growth.

International expansion

Royal Air expects to be able to launch international flights out of the country within the year as it accepts three subleased Airbus A319-100 aircraft (rumored to be ex-Germania fleet).

The first Airbus plane will arrive by end of May, while the second in June, and the third in October. For next year, two planes are anticipated to join the growing fleet. 

“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,” Novillas told the media in a press conference on Friday.

He added: “We are looking at having three Airbus aircraft this year, and two for the succeeding year, and two every other year. That’s the plan. Hopefully by six years, we have 10 Airbus aircraft that we plan to operate within the market.”

Royal Air Charter Service, Inc. (RACSI), now operating as Royal Air Philippines, is an airline based at the Clark International Airport operating a fleet of three BAe Avro RJ100 aircraft. It was founded in 2002 as a charter airline and fully transitioned into a scheduled airline in 2017.

For domestic operations, Novillas said it looks into launching flights to Bohol-Panglao, San Vicente, Lal-lo, and Macau.

Aviation Updates Philippines witnessed the arrival of the RJ100 aircraft in Davao. As it taxied unto the ramp, it was greeted with a ceremonial water canon salute. It was more than thrilling to see a quad-jet once again.

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