As the resort island of Philippines braces for a six months closure, airlines have begun cancelling their flights.
Cebu Pacific, the country’s dominant domestic carrier, will be restricting its service to the two airports, which serve as Boracay’s gateway – Caticlan and Kalibo. The airline is said to have cancelled 14 daily round-trip flights and has anticipated a loss of US$3 million to US$5 million over the six months.
Of the 15 domestic and international flights being operated by AirAsia, 13 will remain suspended during the period. The airline will, however, continue one daily round-trip flight between Manila and Kalibo as well as Manila and Caticlan. It will also be adding more flights to other popular beach and dive destinations, including Cebu, Palawan and Bohol.
“AirAsia strongly urges all guests to keep their email address and mobile number (with country code prefix) updated in their AirAsia member profile to ensure we can reach them for timely assistance,” said the low-cost airline in a statement on Thursday.
Philippines Airlines (PAL) will operate nine weekly flights between Manila and Kalibo and seven weekly flights between Manila and Caticlan.
“All other Caticlan and Kalibo flights from Manila will be suspended from April 20 to October 27, while flights from Cebu and Clark will be suspended from April 26 to October 27,” the airline said in a statement.
To cushion the impact to the country’s tourism, PAL will expand flights to other tourist and provincial destinations in the country during the closure period.
“In the long-term, a safe and revitalized Boracay will benefit all stakeholder in the travel and tourism sector and the Filipino people as a whole,” said PAL President Jaime Bautista.
Charter carrier Air Juan also announced the cancellation of several flights bound for Boracay Island during the timeframe. Passengers with confirmed bookings and tickets on the said period are also given the option to reroute to other destinations serviced by Air Juan, subject to fare difference and availability of seats or place the value of the purchased ticket in a travel fund, which can be used to book any flights within one year.
The decision to shut the holiday hotspot in Philippines was announced by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who called it a “cesspool”. Duterte late on Wednesday ordered the closure of Boracay for six months from April 26 to October 28 in a bid to rescue from ruin.