Home » Aviation, Ports/Terminals, Press Releases » PH airlines cut services to Boracay, hike flights to other tourist hot spots

Air carriers have adjusted their flights to Caticlan and Kalibo in Aklan following the Philippine government’s decision to close off Boracay to tourists for six months.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on April 4 said President Rodrigo Duterte in a Cabinet meeting on the same day approved the six-month closure of Boracay to tourism activities.

The closure, to take effect on April 26, is to give way to the island’s rehabilitation after Duterte stated that the famous tourism destination had become a “cesspool.”

In a statement on April 5, Cebu Pacific said it will cancel flights to and from Caticlan and Kalibo from April 26 to October 27, 2018.

These include the routes Manila-Caticlan-Manila, Cebu-Caticlan-Cebu, Caticlan-Clark-Caticlan, Manila-Kalibo-Manila, Manila-Kalibo, Kalibo-Cebu, Cebu-Kalibo, Cebu-Kalibo-Cebu, Clark-Kalibo, Kalibo-Clark, and Kalibo-Incheon-Kalibo.

To serve local residents and ensure continuity of commerce in Northern Panay Island, Cebu Pacific will operate six daily services to Kalibo and Caticlan from April 26 to October 27, 2018.

These are Manila-Kalibo and Kalibo-Manila (daily from April 26 to September 29, except May 1-May 4, and daily except Fridays from September 30-October 27); and Manila-Caticlan, Caticlan-Manila, Cebu-Caticlan, and Caticlan-Cebu.

The airline said affected passengers may take any of the following options: get a full refund; place the full value of the ticket in a travel fund for future use; rebook the flight, subject to seat availability; or reroute to any domestic destination, subject to seat availability.

For GetGo members who redeemed flights during the period covered by the flight suspension, they may avail of the following options: rebook up to 30 days from original travel date, subject to seat availability; reroute to any domestic destination within 30 days from original travel date, subject to seat availability; or credit back points to member’s GetGo account.

Cebu Pacific said it is in the process of informing passengers affected by the flight cancellations.

Philippine Airlines said that for a six-month period beginning late April, it will also scale down its services to Caticlan and Kalibo airports, while expanding flights to other Philippine tourist and provincial destinations to help ensure the continued growth of domestic tourism.

PAL will operate nine weekly flights between Manila and Kalibo and seven weekly flights between Manila and Caticlan to maintain continued links to these gateways to Aklan.

All other Caticlan and Kalibo flights from Manila will be suspended from April 20 to October 27, while Caticlan and Kalibo flights from Cebu and Clark will be suspended from April 26 to October 27.

Starting April 20, PAL will deploy additional flights on routes between Manila and the destinations Cebu, Iloilo, Puerto Princesa, and Bacolod. These are Manila-Cebu-Manila (daily); Manila-Iloilo-Manila (daily), Manila-Puerto Princesa-Manila (Thursday); and Manila-Bacolod-Manila (Thursday).

Starting April 26, PAL will increase flights on routes between Cebu and Busuanga (Coron), Cebu and Siargao, as well as between Clark and Busuanga. These are daily Cebu-Busuanga-Cebu; Clark-Busuanga-Clark; and Cebu-Siargao-Cebu services.

Starting April 28, PAL will increase its Cebu-Clark-Cebu (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays) flights.

Starting May 1, PAL will also increase flights on routes between Manila and Dumaguete as well as Manila and Cagayan de Oro. These are the Manila-Dumaguete-Manila (daily); and Manila-Cagayan-Manila (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays) routes.

“As we re-direct our passenger market flows to these other key PAL destinations, PAL anticipates that the additional flights will help increase demand and spur economic activity for the benefit of the travel and tourism communities in various regions of the country,” the airline said.

Passengers of the affected Kalibo and Caticlan flights have the option to rebook, reroute, or refund, with penalties waived. Rerouting options, which are subject to space availability, cover both domestic and international routes.

PAL president Jaime Bautista, meanwhile, said the flag carrier fully supports the government’s intention to “make Boracay fully safe and environmentally friendly.”

“Sustainable development is of critical concern, and we are one with the laudable goal to revert the island to a balanced eco-tourism paradise. We seek the understanding of our passengers as your flag carrier and the aviation industry cooperate in this multi-sectoral endeavour,” Bautista said.

“In the long-term, a safe and revitalized Boracay will benefit all stakeholders in the travel and tourism sectors, and the Filipino people as a whole.”

PAL said it will continue to coordinate with the Department of Tourism in an effort to optimize the tourism-generating value of any route calibrations and mitigate any adverse impact on both international and domestic tourism flows from the Kalibo and Caticlan cutbacks.

The flag carrier said it is also coordinating directly with the Civil Aeronautics Board, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, and the airport authorities in Manila, Clark, and Cebu.

AirAsia Philippines will also temporarily suspend or reduce its Caticlan and Kalibo flights. All domestic and international flights to and from Caticlan and Kalibo will be temporarily suspended, except the daily Manila-Kalibo-Manila and Manila-Caticlan-Manila services.

The airline said it will be mounting additional flights to popular leisure destinations Palawan, Bohol, Cebu, and Davao.

Guests who are affected by the changes and who will hold flight bookings during the period will be notified via email and SMS.

Affected guests will be able to choose one from the following service recovery options: change destination, move flight date, credit account, or full refund.

Image courtesy of satit_srihin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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