There seems to be no stopping now, with the national government’s plans to commence with a shutdown of all resorts and businesses within the premiere beach destination of Boracay for a mandatory environmental rehabilitation period lasting from April 26 to October 27 of this year. To that end, two of the Philippines’ major airlines, flag carrier Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific, have now posted their respective advisories on how both operations will address the loss of incoming tourists to Boracay in light of the closure.
A majority of the Pal and Cebu-Pac advisories’ content is regarding the effects of the six-month Boracay shutdown on their regular flights to the two major destinations from which tourists would have embarked by sea to Boracay Island: Kalibo and Caticlan. In PAL’s case, they will be suspending most Manila-Caticlan/Kalibo flights are to be suspended starting April 20, while most Cebu-Kalibo/Caticlan flights will stop on April 26; both will remain in effect until October 27. To maintain air connections with Kalibo and Caticlan to the rest of the country, PAL with maintain 9 weekly flights connecting Manila and Kalibo (courtesy of PR2969 & PR2970), and 7 weekly flights connecting Manila and Caticlan (PR2041 & PR2042).
To compensate for the lost tourist flights to Boracay, PAL will step up with more flights to alternative destinations: starting April 20, routes between Manila and Cebu or Iloilo (all daily), and Puerto Princesa or Bacolod (all on Thursdays). Starting April 26 there will also be added daily flights between Cebu and either Busuanga (Coron) or Siargao, as well as between Clark and Busuanga (Coron). Starting April 28 there will be a Tue/Thu/Sat round flight of Cebu-Clark-Cebu. Lastly, starting May 1 will also implement a daily Manila-Dumaguete-Manila flight, and a Tue/Wed/Fri Manila-Cagayan de Oro-Manila flight.
As for Cebu Pacific, they have got a multitude of daily flights being cancelled on account of Boracay’s closure. Eight flights going Manila-Caticlan-Manila, one flight of Cebu-Caticlan-Cebu, one Caticlan-Clark-Caticlan, two Manila-Kalibo-Manila, one Kalibo-Cebu (1-way), and one Kalibo-Incheon-Kalibo, are all shutting down for the duration. Also included are flights for anytime between 1 to 5 days a week: Manila-Kalibo (1-way Sun-Thu), Kalibo-Cebu (1-way Sun/Fri), Cebu-Kalibo-Cebu (Sunday only), Clark-Kalibo (1-way Tue/Thu/Sat), and finally Kalibo-Clark (1-way Mon/Wed/Fri). Like with PAL, Cebu-Pac will retain a number of normal air routes with the two cities to maintain air links with the country, as listed below.
From April 26 to October 25, these will be the 1-way routes from either Manila or Cebu to either Kalibo or Caticlan: Manila-Kalibo (5J 337), Kalibo-Manila (5J 338) (though both will not fly from May 1-4), Manila-Caticlan (DG 6245), Caticlan-Manila (DG 6246), Cebu-Caticlan (DG 6272) and lastly Caticlan-Cebu (DG 6273).
Regarding the passengers of all flights affected by the Boracay situation, PAL will be offering the standard three options of a ticket refund, a reroute to another destination (both local or international), or a rebook at a much later time. Cebu Pacific will also do likewise, but with the added fourth option of placing a ticket’s full value to a passenger’s travel fund, in case he would want to use it at a future date.
For more detailed information on how Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific are addressing the issues brought on by the April-October Boracay shutdown, you may visit their official websites at http://www.philippineairlines.com and http://www.cebupacificair.com, respectively. You can also catch updates on the flight cancellations and their possible replacements at the two airlines’ official Facebook pages here:
Photo courtesy of TheFilipinoTimes