Zamboanga International Airport Is Aiming to Open SEA Routes

Zamboanga International Airport Is Aiming to Open SEA Routes for International Travellers

Discover Asia's Latin city!

While we wait for more Asian borders to open to international leisure travellers, we welcome news about upgraded airports that have been in the works for some time. One of them is the much-awaited Zamboanga International Airport in Zamboanga City, Philippines. After getting a big facelift, the international airport is planning to open direct routes to fellow Southeast Asian countries, namely Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand. 

The airport is expected to kick off these new routes with Zamboanga-Kota Kinabalu flights. At this point in time, the airport and local government authorities are simply waiting for the approval of their Malaysian counterpart.

According to Transportation Secretary Art Tugade, “Zamboanga International Airport is ready for international operations. It has long been prepared for this. The airport can start international operations through the Zamboanga-Manila-Kota Kinabalu route. But we have to wait for our Malaysian counterpart for the Zamboanga-Kota Kinabalu flight.”

Tugade also added that the flag carrier of the Philippines, Philippine Airlines (PAL), may start operations in the new Zamboanga International Airport as soon as it submits its proposal for international flights with other Southeast Asian countries. The international cities PAL is aiming to include in its proposal aside from Kota Kinabalu are Jakarta, Indonesia, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, and Bangkok, Thailand. PAL will begin accommodating international flights to Zamboanga hopefully in the fourth quarter of 2022, once border restrictions from partner countries are also eased. 

However, PAL Senior Assistant Vice President for Philippine Sales Harry Inoferio underscored that progress speed will also depend on the other SEA countries’ approval. “Depende ‘yun sa timeline nila. Kasi sila ‘yung magbibigay ng go signal samin. Basta may demand ng ruta, we will be willing to consider that.” [It depends on their timeline. They will provide us with the go signal. As long as there’s a demand for the route, we will be willing to consider that.]

Also read: 8 Secret Beaches in Asia You Probably Didn’t Know About

Zamboanga City at a glance

Now that Zamboanga City is preparing to receive international flights in the foreseeable future, let’s briefly look at what the city has to offer. The City of Zamboanga belongs to the Zamboanga Peninsula in the Philippines and is the third largest city in the country. It’s also known as the “City of Flowers” thanks to its lush landscape. But did you know that it got its name from the Malay word, Jambangan, which means “flower garden”?

Aside from that, Zamboanga City is considered as “Asia’s Latin City” due to the strong Spanish influences the city retained. The most important of these is the city’s main language called Chavacano, a Spanish-based creole language which is 80% Spanish mixed with influences of other Philippine languages like Tagalog and Hiligaynon.

If you want to see more traces of Spanish influence, Fort Pilar is a must-visit. It’s an excellently preserved Spanish fort from the 17th century, showcasing brick paths, a perfectly trimmed courtyard, and outdoor shrines for Roman Catholics. 

A trip to Zamboanga City wouldn’t be complete without visiting its popular Pink Beach, which earned its name thanks to the light pink sand scattered upon the shores. It’s a quiet beach where you can enjoy an afternoon meal and swim in the glistening turquoise waters. In fact, you can easily spend your whole day island-hopping because there are 11 islands surrounding Zamboanga City. To get an idea on how to spend a vacation in Zamboanga City, click here.

Also read: 13 Notable Sites in the Philippines Every History Buff Must Visit

We’re looking forward to hearing more updates about the new Zamboanga International Airport for future travels in the Philippines. Until then, stay safe! 

Featured image credit: City Government of Zamboanga | Official Facebook Page

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