BORACAY, Aklan – In just 35 minutes, Southeast Asian Airlines’ (SeAir) two newly-acquired Dornier 328 planes landed in Caticlan. As the fastest flight to Boracay, it is expected to boost the airline’s commercial operations, especially for the coming summer holidays.
"The Dornier 328 aircraft, significantly reduced travel time for tourists, thereby allowing them to maximize their travel schedule and reach this major destination with less hassle. Our passengers will be able to make more fulfilling overnight trips or even day trips to resort destinations," said Nikos Gitsis, director, SeAir.
The two Dornier 328 planes will be used to service routes such as Clark to Cebu, Manila to Busuanga and Puerto Princesa and various routes in the Visayas later this year,’’ Gitsis said.
"Clearly, this acquisition is one of the company’s major steps towards expansion for this year. We are looking at improving our seat capacity by up to 50 percent in selected routes with this new aircraft,’’ he said.
The 32-seater Dornier 328 demonstrates a combination of technology, power and performance. It has a maximum cruise speed of 620 kilometers per hour and a maximum altitude of 31,000 feet, allowing any pilot to climb above most weather system that affect our area and thereby allows for smoother flights. It has also exceptional take-off and landing performance, allowing our pilots to operate safety on relatively short runways,’’ enthused Iren Dornier, chairman of SeAir and grandson of German aircraft pioneer Cludius Dornier.
"With the Dornier 328 as the latest addition to our fleet, SeAir is leveraging its position as the most modern aircraft fleet operator in our segment of the industry. No other aircraft can be considered a serious contender to the Dornier 328 in the same size category," Dornier said.
SeAir has become the official flag carrier of 25 local destinations. It aims to bridge the Philippines via air by offering second feeder routes to complement the trunk like routes serviced by other major players in the domestic airline industry.
Aside from the local expansion, SeAir is positioning itself to enter the international market after its appointment as one of the official carriers for the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia, the Philippines-East Asia Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) regions.
SeAir maintains an optimistic outlook for 2005, expecting the Dornier 328 planes to take in heavy passenger demand, specially during the country’s peak travel season.
Based on the latest report from the Department of Tourism (DoT), the country has experienced an increase in tourism traffic last year, with January to October arrivals reaching 1.861 million or 24.3 percent higher in 2003.
Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano, said growth in visitor arrivals would be sustained this year, with number hitting 2.6 million or 16 percent more than 2004’s total.
Meanwhile, Migs Bennett, Sales and Marketing manager of Nami said SeAir has partnered with Nami Private Villas for flights to Boracay.
Nami Private Villas is now the hottest resort in Boracay. Its name in Japanese means "wave". In Ilonggo, it means "good, pleasant, or delicious." At present, Nami had been living up to both of its name.
Located in Din-iwid Beach, just around the bend of Boat Station 1, this new haven of private villas is just a few minutes walk to the island’s world-famous white beaches.
Nestled on the cliff overlooking Diniwid, Nami Private Villas is 20 meters above the beach. But you don’t need to work up a sweat going up and down Nami. In its pursuit of giving guests ultimate satisfaction and convenience, a scenic elevator called the Bayanihan Lift is provided, an innovation that is yet another first on Boracay. Guests have speedboat also assigned to them to keep them mobile.
Each guest is provided with a vacation menu to make their stay personalized custom-fit to their idea of a great vacation – from a helicopter that flies around the island to a violinist serenading you at dinner in your balcony.
According to Irene Maravilla-Kremier, Nami’s resident manager, there are many things to do at Nami, from swimming, windsurfing, parasailing, scubadiving, snorkeling or just moonwatching or star-gazing.
Maravilla-Kremier said the resort has three buildings, namely, Matawhay (Ilonggo for peaceful), Matahom (Ilonggo for beautiful), and Naayo (Ilonggo for good).
There are also three types of rooms: Beach view, Ocean view and One-bedroom Suite. Each room has its own jacuzzi in the balcony overlooking sand, sea and sky. The design is contemporary Filipino, utilizing bamboo and shells.
If you want more than just a warm, cozy and homey stay, just slide open the wooden blinds and be surrounded by a spectacular view or, better still, open the glass doors and let the sea breeze in.
Rates are charged per night. Their room rates from May 2005 to December (high season), are as follows: Superior Beach Suite, US$110; Deluxe beach views, US$135; Suite Ocean View, US$160; and Family Room, US$185.
Maravilla-Kremer said this includes the tax service charge, round trip transfer from Caticlan and room accommodation for two persons.
"We have at present 15 rooms and we are constructing nine more rooms to accommodate those who are always calling the villas for accommodations. We are experiencing 80 percent to 90 percent occupancy rates,’’ Maravilla-Kremer said.
The new chef, Carla Gabor, who came from Regency Boracay, started working in Nami last Valentine’s Day. She said the freshest catch of the day is served hot off the grill at Manamil Restaurant.
At Nami, nature is, indeed, incorporated into the design of your villa. It is therefore true that the paradise of Boracay is an individually-tailored recipe of sun, sea, sand, with hospitality that awakens the paradise within each soul. (LBValencia)