CLARK FREEPORT -- The Philippine’s number one domestic airline, Cebu Pacific (CEB), resumes Caticlan operations starting March 1 this year.

This after CEB, which is among the airlines operating at the Diosdao Macapagal International Airport here, went on an almost seven-month hiatus from flying to the Godofredo P. Ramos Airport, the gateway to Boracay.

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CEB suspended its flights to Caticlan on July 10, 2009, following the advice of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) regarding the airport’s runway length and one-way runway rule. 

According to a Caap memo dated January 25, 2010, CEB aircraft can now take off both ways in the Godofredo Ramos Airport runway. In the event of unavoidable airport conditions, flights to Caticlan may still be diverted to Kalibo.

Starting March 1, 2010, CEB will gradually reintroduce its Caticlan flights into service, beginning with the transfer of four Manila-Kalibo and one Cebu-Kalibo flights to Caticlan. This transition is meticulously paced to give time for the retraining of CEB’s ATR pilots on the Caticlan route.

The airline expects to resume full Caticlan operations by March 28, 2010, with 11 Manila-Caticlan-Manila flights and one Cebu-Caticlan-Cebu flight daily. This gives CEB the most number of airline seats to and from Caticlan.

“CEB is pursuing this gradual transition to Caticlan to make sure our ATR pilots are properly re-certified to operate the route. In as much as we would like to resume our full Caticlan schedule immediately, our main priority will always be the safety of our passengers,” said CEB VP for Marketing and Distribution Candice Iyog.

“We hope passengers on our March 1-27 flights can support us in this transition period. We are very happy we can once again open our Caticlan route to our Boracay-bound passengers, and offer the same great value fares we offer to our 31 other domestic destinations,” she added.

She requested passengers on the following Kalibo flights to please call the CEB reservation hotline (02) 7020-888 or (032) 230-888 for updates on their flight schedules:

* March 1-27- passengers on 5J 351/352, 333/334, 335/336, 341/342 and 416/417

* March 8-27- passengers on 5J 331/332, 337/338, 353/354

* March 25-27- passengers on 5J 343/344

CEB started its Caticlan operations in February 2008, and has carried more than 340,000 passengers in and out of Caticlan without incident. It uses its brand-new ATR 72-500 aircraft, which is part of the youngest fleet in the Philippines. (RGN)