China Airlines, the Taiwan-based carrier, has added a new route to its Southeast Asia portfolio with the formal launch of its new Taipei-Cebu service today (12/1). China Airlines has operated scheduled services on the Taipei-Manila and Kaohsiung-Manila routes for many years, and the introduction of regular services to Cebu means the carrier will now operate 21 flights a week to the Philippines. Direct flights to the Filipino capital and holiday spot will provide travelers with more options and flexibility in planning their itineraries.
All passengers on the inaugural flight to Cebu received a limited edition China Airlines inaugural flight gift pack, including an eco-friendly yet stylish shell cotton net bag and the new China Airlines 2023 desktop calendar. When they touched down in Cebu, the local ground staff presented the passengers with a welcome necklace and dried mango slices. The China Airlines aircraft was also welcomed with a water salute by Cebu International Airport to commemorate the inauguration of this new route.
Southeast Asia is a key business and travel market for China Airlines, and Cebu is the first new destination to be added in the post-COVID era. Now that the passenger market is showing signs of recovery, China Airlines is not only catering to Taiwanese tourists visiting the Philippines for travel and leisure but also targeting the transit passenger market. Cebu is a popular destination among international travelers, and China Airlines is even set to tap into the North American market with up to 30 North American services. North American travelers transiting through Taiwan on their way to Cebu will further strengthen Taiwan's status as a transit hub.
China Airlines has assigned its newest A321neo passenger aircraft to the Taipei-Cebu route to give travelers the most convenient and comfortable service. The aircraft is configured for 180 seats including 12 in Premium Business Class and 168 in Economy. Flight CI705 will depart at 07:40 in the morning every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from Taoyuan, and arrive in Cebu at 10:35 local time. The region renowned for having the most beautiful waters in the world for diving is just a three-hour trip away. The return flight CI706 departs from Cebu at 11:35 local time and arrives at Taoyuan International Airport at 14:30 in the afternoon.
Cebu is the second largest city in the Philippines and is lauded as the "Queen City of the South." The rich cultural, historical and natural heritage includes attractions such as Magellan's Cross and Basilica del Santo Nino, as well as the World Heritage-listed Chocolate Hills of Bohol. The tropical climate of the south means any time is a good time to visit. China Airlines is offering promotional discounts on the new route. Economy Class return fares for the Taipei-Cebu route start from just TWD 5,600 (before tax).
The new Cebu service will be joined by Da Nang in Vietnam on January 2 next year, followed by Chiang Mai in Thailand on January 20. Each destination will be served by four weekly direct flights. Service frequency on South East Asia routes is also being increased, including routes that depart from central and southern Taiwan. The Taichung-Ho Chi Minh City route will return to four weekly flights, the Kaohsiung-Manila route will be increased to three weekly flights, and the Kaohsiung-Bangkok route will resume services in January next year. South East Asia will therefore have 18 passenger routes in operation during the peak travel season of the Lunar New Year holidays with around 130 return flights, providing Taiwanese holiday makers with a wide variety of choices for their overseas holiday.