royalair philippines (RW, Clark) has announced it will open a hub at Cebu Mactan International Airport with five new scheduled routes starting later this month, ABS-CBN News has reported.

The airline, which began as a charter carrier in 2002 under the name Royal Air Charter Service (Philippines) and branched out into scheduled flights only in 2018, will link the Central Visayas airport with Manila Ninoy Aquino Int'l, Davao, Puerto Princesa, Caticlan, and Cagayan de Oro Laguindingan. Since 2018, it has been operating between Clark and both Caticlan and Puerto Princesa.

It currently has three 97-seat ARJ-100s, with three subleased A319-100s arriving in the next few months, CEO Ed Novillas said at a presentation in Manila on May 17.

"royalair is serious about expanding our market reach across the southern region," he said, adding that the expansion would double the company's employee numbers from 77 to 140 by the end of July.

The airline is owned by former travel agents who are experts in Chinese tourist charters in the region, Novillas told the Manila newspaper BusinessWorld. Charter flights sustain the business, he said, providing 70% of the company’s revenues, for example from Lal-lo to Macau Int'l via Tuguegarao, and to Kalibo from Taipei Taoyuan and secondary cities in China.

The A319s, the first of which is due for delivery by the end of May, could be deployed on new scheduled routes to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, Kuala Lumpur Int'l, Hong Kong Int'l, and Singapore Changi, Novillas added.

“We are looking at having three Airbus aircraft this year, and two for the succeeding year, and two every other year. That’s the plan. Hopefully, after six years we'll have ten Airbus aircraft,” he said.