Caticlan airport, the second airport in Aklan and one of the country’s busiest gateways, is 70 kilometers by road from Kalibo International Airport in Kalibo, Aklan. The newest flight would allow Boracay tourists and Aklan-bound passengers to directly travel to Caticlan from Manila vice versa.
The PAL PR2059 flight arrived at Caticlan airport at 10 a.m. at runway 6/24 with 150 passengers on board. The PAL Airbus A320 twin-jet also received the traditional water canon salute at the 1,800-meters runway of Caticlan, an expansion project of conglomerate San Miguel Corporation.
PAL will operate three times a day from Caticlan to Manila at 9:45 AM, 1:15 PM and 4:30 PM. It is offering an introductory fare for one-hour and ten minutes flight for as low as P2,636 Caticlan-Manila and P2,621 Manila-Caticlan, all-in one-way economy fares.
The airport is currently managed by TransAire Development Holdings Corp., a subsidiary of San Miguel, which owns the rights to a 25 year build-rehabilitate-operate-transfer concession deal from the national transportation department.
Prior to airport expansion, Caticlan airport accommodates small propeller aircraft such as British Aerospace BAE-146 aircraft of SkyJet, ATR 72-500 aircraft of Cebu Pacific and 76-seat Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 operated by PAL Express due to the limited runway capability of the airport.
During bad weather, the flights are also diverted to Kalibo International Airport, a two hour drive by land to Caticlan.
The recent development in Caticlan airport will likely impact the number of flights in Kalibo. Aside from PAL, other airline companies are planning to launch international and inter-island flights to Caticlan using their Airbus A320 aircraft.
The high-capacity aircraft would also increase access to Taiwan and Korea markets with non-stop flight to Caticlan airport.
BY BOY RYAN B. ZABAL