More Filipinos to experience Boracay with add'l flights landing at Caticlan airport
by Venus G. Villanueva
Kalibo, Aklan (22 February) -- More Filipinos are expected to visit and experience Boracay with more flights now landing directly at Caticlan Airport in Barangay Caticlan, Malay, Aklan, the jump-off point to Boracay Island.
The latest to join the bandwagon of flights to Caticlan Airport is the Cebu Pacific (CEB) Airline, which will have its maiden Manila-Boracay (Caticlan) flight starting February 29 of this year and the Cebu-Boracay (Caticlan) route starting March 28.
According to Candice Iyog, CEB vice president of marketing and product, the airline hopes to further spur local and international travel activity to one of the best leisure destinations in the world, Boracay, as they start their service to Caticlan.
"With our very low year-round fares, more Filipinos and overseas guests can now visit the country's number one tourist destination," Iyog said.
Iyog said the new routes will utilize CEB's brand new ATR 72-500 aircraft which arrived this month.
CEB will initially operate its Manila-Boracay (Caticlan) service five times daily. Upon the arrival of the second ATR aircraft in March, it will increase its frequency from five to nine services daily and also begin daily Cebu-Boracay (Caticlan) operations, according to Iyog.
Iyog also revealed that CEB is acquiring up to 14 ATR 72-500 regional aircraft manufactured by Avions de Transport Regional (ATR), based in Toulouse, Frannce. ATR, Iyog said, is the world leader in the 50-74 seater ATR aircraft to service airports runway length and strength limitations, such as Caticlan.
The expansion of Caticlan Airport has recently been approved by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo with a budget of P2.4 billion under the Build-Operate Transfer Scheme, seen by local officials of Aklan to pave the way to accommodate bigger planes such as Airbus 319/320 or B737 that will cater to passengers from the other parts of the world.
The expansion of the Caticlan Airport was strongly endorsed by Aklan Rep. to Congress Florencio T. Miraflores, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the Provincial Development of Aklan.
Last year, Boracay visitors surpassed the half-million marked, counting 596,748 tourists, which translated to P10.9 billion in tourist receipts.
Aklan is already anticipating that Boracay visitors will reach the one million mark in 2010.
The airport in Caticlan is now considered one of the busiest airports in the country. (PIA) [top]