Budget carrier Vanilla Air celebrates the Christmas Day with the launch of its regular flights from Narita airport to Mactan-Cebu International Airport.
The unit of ANA holdings Inc. is the first domestic carrier to offer a regular daily round trip between Narita and Cebu.
As more and more Japanese are going to Cebu to sightsee or study, the new route is expected to attract robust demand, Vanilla Air said. The first flight Sunday was packed, and Japanese occupied 80 percent of the seats.
Tourism Sec. Wanda Teo said that the new flight would further position Cebu as the international gateway in the Visayas region.
The new route offers daily flights departing Cebu at 15:30 arriving Narita at 21:10 while the 13:20 and 10:30 flights from Narita will arrive in Cebu at 17:20 and 14:30, respectively.
Vanilla Air President Katsuya Goto said before its departure that the budget airline plans to cooperate with Cebu Pacific Air in online ticket sales, noting the two are Value Alliance members.
The airline currently operates from Tokyo Narita to Taipei, Kaohsiung, Hong Kong and Ho Chi Minh City aside from the domestic destinations: Sapporo, Hakodate, Osaka, Amami-Oshima and Okinawa.
Operating the Airbus 320 aircraft, the low-cost carrier which has a single class configuration was welcomed in Cebu on December 25, and the Cebu to Tokyo operation commenced on the following day.