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NEWS UPDATES 11 July 2009

Philippine carrier suspends flights to resort island

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Flag carrier Philippines Airlines said it has suspended flights to the main airport serving the resort island of Boracay, following a similar action by rival carrier Cebu Pacific, AFP reported.

The airline, also known as PAL, said all its 12 daily flights into Caticlan airport are being diverted to Kalibo airport, 50 kilometres (31 miles) to the southeast, "due to landing weight limitations" imposed by aviation regulators.

Cebu Pacific took the same action on Thursday for all its 15 daily flights to Caticlan. PAL said the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines informed carriers on Wednesday that they were allowed to use only one Caticlan runway for both take-off and landing "to avoid similar incidents like the one involving a Zest Air flight last month" when a turboprop plane overshot the runway.

PAL and Cebu Pacific both said they would bus passengers from Kalibo to Caticlan at no extra charge. Zest Airways has not announced any changes to its Caticlan service.

At least half a million tourists visit the white sand beaches of the island of Boracay every year, according to industry estimates, making the tiny airport of Caticlan the second busiest destination in the Philippines after Manila. From Caticlan, on the north coast of the central island of Panay, tourists take a short ferry hop to Boracay island.


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