The Philippines’ Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) has lifted the moratorium on new and additional scheduled and chartered flights to Boracay’s gateways, Caticlan and Kalibo, following clamour from irate stakeholders over the loss in tourism earnings brought about by the flight ban.
Instead, CAB’s executive director Carmelo Arcilla said that the schedules of charters will “be spread out on certain days of the season”, depending upon the island’s carrying capacity.
Arcilla also added that while scheduled flights will be maintained for IATA Summer Season 2019, “no new applications for new and/or additional flights, or revisions effectively (such as) adding new flights will be entertained”.
Charter operations also have to submit applications for chartered flights no later than 30 days to the intended flight date.
The CAB is also limiting all airline operators to use aircraft with a maximum of 200 seats.
The moratorium was imposed a month ago, when passenger arrivals to Boracay exceeded the 6,405 daily arrival cap in April and May. But the Department of Tourism (DoT) insisted that it didn’t breach the 19,215 tourist capacity that was imposed on Boracay at any given time. Instead, the DoT pointed to the need for better coordination between CAB and the DoT.
DoT’s secretary, Bernadette Romulo Puyat – who also sits on the CAB board – welcomed the lifting of the moratorium, saying it will “facilitate the stakeholders’ goal of ensuring a thriving and vibrant tourism industry in Boracay”.
“And with these (CAB) guidelines in place, we are assured that Boracay’s carrying capacity is strictly enforced by the authorities,” Puyat added.
Tourism Congress of the Philippines president, Jojo Clemente, said:
“We are happy that CAB’s moratorium of charter flights to Kalibo and Caticlan has been lifted. We also thank the DoT for intervening on behalf of the industry stakeholders and their concerns.
“We only hope that, in the future, similar actions be studied thoroughly before, and with consultation with affected stakeholders before implementation,” Clemente stressed.