For success of SanFo-Manila maiden flight
TOP executives of United Airlines, one of the major airlines in the United States of America (USA), personally expressed their gratitude to the Philippine Government and Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco for the success of San Francisco-Manila inaugural flight.
United Airlines President Janet Lamkin and Vice President for International Regulatory and Policy Government Affairs Steve Morrissey, during a meeting with Frasco expressed their intention to further collaborate with the DOT after the airline’s’ maiden flight last November 3, 2023 flew from San Francisco to Manila with a full passenger and cargo load.
United Airlines now operates the non-stop flights between San Francisco-Manila daily.
“This is the most requested route we’ve ever done particularly here in the Bay Area,” said Lamkin.
“We are thrilled to be working with you and thank you for helping us make it happen,” added Morrisey.
Frasco returned the gratitude to the United Airlines executives noting that the United States is among the Philippines’ largest source markets.
In 2022, the USA ranked first as the top source market for the Philippines, with 505,089 arrivals from February to December 2022 or 19.03% percent of the country’s total international arrivals (by nationality) for the said period.
The DOT’s latest report shows that from January to November 2023 as of November 17, the USA ranked as the top 2 source market for the Philippines next to South Korea, with 814,062 arrivals or 17.43% of the country’s total international arrivals (by nationality).
“While I appreciate your expression of gratitude, it should be I who should thank you on behalf of our President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. because I am very happy to see that the agreement made between our President and yours has borne fruit quite fast. Thank you for the great vote of confidence in the Philippines as that is what this flight tells the whole world; That you are confident enough in the volume, and the interest in the fastest-growing economy in Asia. We are very thankful for the opportunity to expand our economy by way of this much-needed boost to connectivity,” Frasco said.
“We are hopeful that with this added route from one of the most well-respected brands in aviation, United Airlines, no less, we would be able to not only recover our number from the US but exceed it in leaps and bounds,” the Tourism Secretary added.
The DOT chief also urged United Airlines to explore the viability of establishing direct routes to the Philippines’ secondary gateways, including the Clark International Airport, Mactan Cebu International Airport, and the Davao International Airport.
“The vision of the President is to expand opportunities beyond our main gateway, which is in Manila. Our push has also been to open up and bring attention to our other gateways,” explained the tourism chief.
To achieve President Marcos, Jr.’s vision of becoming a tourism powerhouse in Asia, the DOT has identified the improvement of connectivity to the Philippines as one of its strategic approaches under the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) 2023 – 2028.
As may be recalled, the DOT since last year has been actively pushing for the development of additional routes and reinstatement of halted flights due to the pandemic by way of mounting inaugural regional travelling expos such as the North Luzon Travel Expo, the Central Philippines Travel Expo, and the Mindanao Travel Expo, where business-to-business networking sessions are facilitated between tour operators and aviation stakeholders to stir up travel demand.
Also present during the meeting were United Airlines Director for International Regulatory and Policy Chaitan Jain, DOT Assistant Secretary Rica Bueno, DOT Office of Public Affairs and Advocacy Director Ina Zara-Loyola, and Tourism Attaché for San Francisco, Soleil Tropicales.