Philippines' South Phoenix launching int'l charters

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Philippine charter carrier South Phoenix Airways is launching its first international service later this week using an Antonov An-28 and is planning to launch more domestic and international operations.

From 16 April it will start operating a twice-weekly charter service linking the southwest Philippine city of Puerto Princesa with the East Malaysian city of Kota Kinabalu, South Phoenix vice president sales and marketing Glenn Lamela says from Manila.

It will begin with the An-28 but on 20 April will switch to using a GAF Nomad. Both are 19-seat turboprop aircraft leased from Malaysian charter carrier Layang Layang Aerospace.

South Phoenix, which started operating domestic charter flights in 2002, has one Cessna 421B and one NAMC YS-11.

It hopes to eventually use its 21-seat YS-11 on the Puerto Princesa-Kota Kinabalu route and launch scheduled services linking the Philippines with destinations in East Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, says Lamela.

South Phoenix is also eyeing the Cebu-Boracay and Manila-Boracay domestic routes and plans to move its base from Manila to the city of Cebu.

Lamela says Cebu is strategically located in the centre of the Philippines.