AirAsia Philippines CEO promises sustainable aviation for Boracay tourism

The country’s players in the aviation industry vowed to be among the industries that will drive the sustainability of the country’s tourist sites, especially the Philippine gem, Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan.

At Friday’s Boracay Business Forum presented by the Global Tourism Business Association and One Klik Events Management, which was graced by several dignitaries from Southeast and other regions in Asia, AirAsia Philippines CEO Ricardo Isla said his airline is now one of the leading proponents of sustainability in Asia.

“We expect that in the next five to seven years we will be ready to use sustainable aviation fuel that will significantly reduce emissions. To date, we are currently doing what we call a motorcycle taxi practice which will not only save fuel consumption but also CO2 emissions,” he said.

Isla said AirAsia has already reduced around 130,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

He said sustainability is very important, especially in island tourist destinations such as Boracay.

“Make Boracay green and the perfect ecotourism. It goes beyond the white sand because everyone knows that Boracay has one of the best white sand beaches in the world,” he said.

Air Asia is the official airline of the ambassadors who participated in the Boracay Business Forum in Boracay from April 18 to 20.

Increase in Boracay flights

Isla said in an interview with DAILY TRIBUNE that they have seen continuous improvement in the frequency of its Boracay flights.

“We have already flown 250,000 passengers in this first quarter of 2024 and the number is constantly increasing. Secondly, we strongly support the advocacy for sustainability and the greening and conservation of the pristine beaches of Boracay and other Malay destinations, which is very important. important to us,” he said.

AirAsia flies round-trip to Boracay 14 times a day from Manila, Clark and Cebu airports, bringing more tourists to the country’s premier destination.

Assessing the market situation

Meanwhile, United Airlines Philippines country manager Paula Marie Chiong Navarro said they are currently assessing the market situation in Aklan so they can arrange direct flights to Kalibo Airport.

“The Philippines is a very important market for United Airlines. In the fourth quarter of 2023, we launched our first direct nonstop flight from San Francisco to Manila, the first US airline to operate a nonstop Trans-Pacific flight between the US and the Philippines,” she said.

She said that after opening from San Francisco to Manila, United Airlines will also open direct flights from San Francisco to Cebu in October this year.

Navarro added that they wanted to continue bringing American tourists to the Philippines, especially Boracay. She therefore commended domestic players Air Asia, Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines for maintaining connectivity to the country’s major tourist destinations.

A total of 630,648 foreign and domestic Malaysian tourists visited, including those who visited Boracay, based on Malaysian Tourism Board data as of April 15, 2024, which was presented by Mayor Frolibar Bautista at the event.

Of the numbers mentioned, more than 162,000 are foreign tourists; 459,000 are domestic, and more than 8,000 Filipino workers are overseas.

The main foreign markets for Malay are Koreans, Chinese, Americans, Taiwanese, Australians, Russians, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and Canada.