Reduced flights hurting Aklan capital’s economy
ILOILO CITY — Business operators and officials of Aklan province are appealing to airlines and national government agencies to increase the frequency of flights to and from Kalibo International Airport (KIA) amid soaring airfares following the closure of Boracay Island to tourists.
They said airfares have doubled or tripled after airlines reduced flights between Manila and Kalibo and suspended those between Kalibo and other destinations.
In a resolution, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI)-Aklan said the reduced flights and high airfares had burdened passengers, including residents, students and business operators, and disrupted the transport of cargo.
“This (also) does not help in the fast recovery efforts (for) Boracay since even people and resources being sent to hasten the rehabilitation were delayed due to limited and expensive flights to Kalibo,” according to the resolution.
From multiple daily flights, Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air have reduced their flights between Manila and Kalibo to one daily flight each. AirAsia also operates one daily flight.
Flights between Kalibo and the cities of Cebu and Davao and Clark in Pampanga province were suspended shortly after Boracay was closed to tourists for a six-month rehabilitation on April 26.
All flights from and to Caticlan airport in Malay town have been suspended earlier this month, except for a daily flight between Caticlan and Manila operated by AirAsia.
According to Guidon de la Cruz, PCCI-Aklan secretary, one-way airfare to Manila now costs P7,000 to P8,000, especially for tickets booked a week before the flight. Tickets were selling for P2,000 to P4,000 before Boracay’s closure.
He said travelers needed to book at least a month in advance to avail of lower rates.
Aside from expensive airfares, seats are also limited due to fewer flights, he added.
Residents of Aklan and the provinces of Antique and Capiz have to travel to up to four or five hours to the Iloilo International Airport to avail of cheaper rates. Those traveling to Cebu and Davao also need to go to Iloilo. —Nestor Burgos Jr.
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