There’s a new airline that now flies to Batanes, the country’s most sought after travel destination! Wakay Air Transport Services (Inc.) offers chartered flights from Manila to Basco, Batanes and vice versa in partnership with AirSWIFT. Launched last March 29, 2016, Wakay Air’s flights are serviced by a 48-seater ATR 42-600 turboprop plane. Flights depart from A. Soriano Terminal in Pasay City to Basco Airport in Batanes. Flights from Manila leave 5:15 am and arrive in Basco at 7:00 am. Return flights leave at 7:20 am and arrive in Manila at 9:00 am. Travel time is 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Wakay Air is owned and managed by Ivatan entrepreneurs who have been running customized tours in Batanes since 2012. “Wakay” is an Ivatan term for camote or sweet potato, which is one of the most stable food sources in Batanes. The airline promises to serve Ivatans and tourists while promoting cultural heritage preservation and environmental-friendly advocacies.
The airline operates in partnership with AirSWIFT, the country’s only boutique airline. AirSWIFT is a Filipino-owned company that is known for flying to premium island destinations such as El Nido in Palawan and Cebu. The company was previously known as Island Transvoyager, Inc. (ITI) until 2012 when it was bought by the Ayala Capital Corporation and rebranded as AirSWIFT in 2015.
I got to fly on this newly launched aircraft courtesy of the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) to cover the 1st Vakul-Kanayi Festival in Sabtang last April 2016. Their hangar in Manila is located in A. Soriano at Andrews Avenue near NAIA Terminal 1. The waiting area/lounge was comfortable and air-conditioned, with TV sets, magazines and books for people to browse through. Beverages, including coffee and some pastries were served free for all customers while waiting for our flight. The plane itself is comfortable and similar to other small aircrafts with InFlight magazines on board.
Instead of paper boarding passes, we were issued carved wooden boarding passes to indicate our seats. These were claimed again by the flight attendant inside the plane. Take note that there’s a fee of P750 for missing boarding passes (to prevent tourists taking home them home as souvenirs).
At the moment, flights cost at about P7,000-8,000.00 per person/one way. However, promos will be regularly offered. Wakay Travel & Tours also offers all-in package tours that lowers the overall costs of the ticket. Last March, they offered P15,999 per pax for 3D2N which included airfare, room, tours, breakfast and entrance fees. According to locals, special rates are given to Ivatans, giving them a more affordable option than the regular flights served by two commercial airlines that fly to Batanes. Check out their Facebook page for promos.
Wakay Air is now accepting bookings and reservations. For inquiries and reservations, please contact them directly:
- Address: National Road, Brgy. Kaychanarian, Basco, Batanes
- Facebook: Batanes Wakay Travel & Tours Inc
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mobile: 0917-5254263, Basco: 0920-8242697, 0915-7503735
- Address: Floor 3, Azarcon Building, Bayan-bayanan Avenue, Marikina Heights, Marikina City, Philippines
- Email: email@example.com
- Tel: 9542560, 2152755, 0917-8336779