Air industry in Laoag has come a long way

When Southeast Asian Airlines (SEAIR) Chief Executive Officer Olive Ramos first came to Laoag City in 2003, she drove from Manila to Laoag for 12 hours.

That time, no airline company was flying to the city after the Philippine Airlines suspended its domestic route to Laoag. The country’s flag carrier resumed its domestic route to Laoag in 2004.

But Ramos said she had no regrets coming to this ‘Sunshine City’ despite the long-hour drive, for she immediately liked the place, which she described as historical, and promised herself to return someday.

Ten years later, she returned to Laoag and led the inaugural flight of SEAIR’s Manila-Laoag-Manila route last April 4.

During her second stay in the province, she promised to help make Laoag City and Ilocos Norte become a business and tourism hub in the Ilocos region through a partnership with SEAIR and the local government.

That another airline has created a new domestic route to this city is very telling.

SeaAir is the third airline company next to Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines which established air transport to Laoag.

Nearly 10 years ago, no airline company was flying the Manila-Laoag-Manila route either because there were insufficient passengers patronizing the air transport industry or there was simply no tourist and investment activity in the province during that period.

SEAIR is a Filipino company that is 40 percent owned by Singapore-based Tiger Airways holdings. It has adopted the Low-cost Carrier (LCC) business model and offers pocket-friendly fares to 12 destinations in the country and three international destinations (Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok).

The airline company had made significant contributions in developing Boracay and Palawan as major tourist destinations. It hopes to generate similar development efforts for Ilocos Norte with the company’s entry in Laoag’s air industry.

Ramos has fate in Laoag to be the next investment and tourism center in the Ilocos Region because of its improved tourism facilities from road networks, accommodation and air transport services making the city more accessible. (Ariel Paolo Tejada)