Showing posts with label Kalibo International Airport. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kalibo International Airport. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Security Concerns Raised at Kalibo International Airport

A recent report published in the Manila Bulletin has revealed an alarming security lapse that took place last month at Kalibo International Airport, gateway to the popular beach resort destination of Boracay Island. According to the report, a female with absolutely no passport or money was able to board a Philippine Airlines flight to Seoul Incheon Airport in South Korea.

Image Source: MIASCOR
Leah Castro Reginio managed to slip past authorities at Kalibo International Airport in January without any travel documents or money and board Philippine Airlines flight 490 bound for Seoul. Reginio, a native of Antique province, is in her late thirties.

A source at the airport told the Manila Bulletin that Reginio seamlessly proceeded through what was allegedly supposed to be a secure facility, clearing a number of check points including the entrance gate, immigration, and even the boarding gate controlled by staff of Philippine Airlines. 

It was even revealed by the source that Reginio was served in-flight meals during the flight and brought a blanket by one of Philippine Airlines' flight attendants. But after landing in Seoul, it didn't take Korean authorities long to single the Aklan-native out. 

Reginio was observed loitering inside the Incheon Airport, where Korean airport authorities questioned her. As Reginio could not produce a passport or any travel document, she was escorted immediately by Korean officials to board the return flight back to Kalibo.

It is believed that Flight Officers on the Philippine Airlines flight initially refused to board Reginio, arguing with Korean authorities that she was not on the passenger manifest. However, Korean Airport Officers were able to review security camera footage that clearly showed Reginio emerging from the Philippine Airlines flight, shortly after it landed in Korea. 

Reginio was eventually boarded onto the flight, where she was served meals like regular paying passengers. Upon landing back at Kalibo International Airport, Reginio was turned over to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines. Officials had a difficult time obtaining information from Reginio when questioned. However, she admitted that she was able to enter Kalibo International Airport and board the flight for free.

After failing to obtain any meaningful information from Reginio, CAAP officials made attempts to locate her relatives in Antique. Upon locating relatives, investigators discovered that Reginio suffers from schizophrenia, a mental disorder that leads to abnormal social behaviour and an inability to recognize reality.

Investigators recalled how Reginio was smiling and laughing the majority of the time that she was being questioned. She even claimed that she had succesfully boarded a ferry without paying anything. Following questioning by CAAP officials, Reginio was later released to a relative without any charges filed. 

However, the incident has raised concerns at Kalibo International Airport, where the security lapses involve a number of parties including immigration, airport authorities, and Philippine Airlines personnel. 

Church and government officials in the province of Aklan have publicly criticized the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines for its mismanagement of Kalibo International Airport, which has long remained a source of frustration for travellers and an embarrassment to the country.

Countless passengers have shared personal experiences revealing the uncomfortable experience of travelling through what is one of the busiest airports in the Philippines. Provincial government officials in Aklan singled out CAAP Kalibo International Airport Manager Cynthia Aspera, holding her accountable for the negative experiences of passengers.

According to Vice Governor Gabrielle Calizo-Quimpo, the leadership of Aklan is disappointed in the way that the Civil Aviation Authority operates Kalibo International Airport. "We have been receiving from tourists numerous complaints about the airport's operation," said Quimpo. "There are too many delayed flights, lack of comfort rooms, and air-conditioning units."

A number of on-going issues have been raised regarding the terminal. Most recently, the Panay News reported continued congestion in the passenger terminal building and foul odors infiltrating the terminal from the comfort rooms. In addition, passengers have complained about a lack of seating, long queues for the only two comfort rooms in the terminal, and relaxed security.

Governor Florencio Miraflores expressed concern over the airport's management and is hoping to see improvements this year. But nobody from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines would comment on the issue.

References: Panay News, Manila Bulletin

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

SilkAir Launches Inaugural Singapore-Kalibo Flights

SilkAir, the regional arm of Singapore Airlines, launched its first flight from Singapore to Kalibo on Tuesday, providing passengers with new access to Boracay Island, one of Asia's top beach holiday destinations.

Image Source: Miascor / Kalibo Airport Facebook
Flight MI599 departed Terminal 2 at Singapore's Changi Airport at 10:00am on May 27 and arrived at Kalibo International Airport at 1:45pm, where a special ceremony was held to celebrate the launch of the flight. The return trip departed Kalibo at 3:00pm arriving back in Singapore at 8:10pm. 

The new service makes Kalibo SilkAir's third destination in the Philippines after Davao and Cebu. SilkAir's route network now increases to 46 destinations in 12 countries. Kalibo flights will be operated three times weekly departing Singapore every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. 

According to SilkAir CEO Leslie Thng, the new flights are designed to provide a seamless travel experience for passengers headed to Boracay Island. "The launch of these direct flights to Kalibo highlights our commitment to the Philippine market," said Thng. "We're excited to be connecting our customers to more destinations in the Philippines and are confident that they will be delighted with the ease in which they can now visit yet another unique destination in the region with SilkAir."

To celebrate the inaugural flights, passengers received a commemorative frisbee symbolising the iconic beaches of Boracay Island, along with an inaugural flight certificate personally signed by the aircraft's captain and the SilkAir CEO. 

Flights will be operated by SilkAir's fleet of Airbus A320 and A319 aircraft, featuring Business and Economy Class cabins. The new service will also connect Kalibo passengers to the Singapore Airlines - SilkAir network serving more than 90 cities worldwide via their hub at Singapore's Changi Airport, ranked best airport in the world for several consecutive years. 

Kalibo is the capital of Aklan province and one of the primary gateways to Boracay Island. With its sandy white beaches and crystal clear waters, Boracay Island offers an array of activities and attractions for tourists including caves, cascading waterfalls, and natural springs. For Kalibo passengers wishing to visit Singapore, the Lion City offers a number of attractions including Universal Studios Singapore as well as world-class shopping and dining choices. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

DOTC Announces P6 billion for Kalibo International Airport Development

The Department of Transportation and Communications has announced that it will embark on P6 billion in projects to develop and modernize the Kalibo International Airport. According to Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya, the projects would include a runway extension and expansion, additional apron space, roads, and a new terminal building that could be completed in three years. 

kalibo international airport
Image Source: Panoramio
Abaya discussed the projects with Governor Florencio Miraflores and Congressman Teodorico Haresco last week. The primary purpose of the project is to decongest the rising number of passengers travelling through Kalibo International Airport as they make their way to Boracay Island. According to Abaya, the P6 billion investment will still be subject to the approval of the National Economic and Development Authority Board.

“Kulang ang pasilidad sa Kalibo airport sa dami ng pasahero, siguro mga dalawang milyon this year,” said Abaya. “Isa ito sa mga biggest challenges (ng airport) … Panahon pa ni Secretary Mar Roxas, tinitingnan na niya ang kalagayan dito.”

In order to comply with International Civil Aviation Organization standards, the Kalibo International Airport runway will need to be extended to 2.5 kilometers and expanded to 300 meters. “Mahalaga na mag-comply tayo sa standards for the safety of the passengers,” Abaya added.

Under the airport development plan, new terminal buildings will be relocated for better access to the Kalibo Circumferential Road, while additional parking bays will be constructed to accommodate more aircraft. According to Abaya, the Godofredo Ramos Airport in Caticlan operated by San Miguel Corporation is expected to be able to accommodate larger commercial aircraft by the end of this year, but Kalibo will remain the primary gateway for regional flights from Asia and Southeast Asia.
“The airports have their own roles to play,” said Abaya. “The Kalibo airport, however, remains the gateway for regional flights from Asia and Southeast Asia dahil sa significant load penalty factor for airline companies in Caticlan.”

Singapore based SilkAir and AirAsia of Malaysia recently announced that they would each be launching direct routes to Kalibo from their respective hubs in Southeast Asia. Governor Miraflores says that the existing airport terminal has a capacity of handling approximately 700,000 passengers annually but the rapidly rising passenger volume means that expansion is needed.

"For the past few years,the number of passenger traffic is increasing and there is a need to expand the facilities to provide convenience for two million passengers annually,” Miraflores said. He added that officials from the DoTC have asked the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to fast track the construction of a new airport terminal building, which was originally supposed to be completed by October 2014.

While the new terminal building is under construction, the expansion of the apron is already underway with targeted completion within the next two months. When complete, additional parking bays will be available for more aircraft. Earlier this year, AirAsia revealed that it intends to make Kalibo International Airport a secondary hub offering up to 320 domestic and international flights weekly to Korea, China, Taiwan, and Malaysia. The budget carrier plans to launch new flights from Kalibo as early as July, contingent on the necessary development at the airport to accommodate expansion.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Construction of Boracay-Caticlan Airport Expansion to Begin Soon

San Miguel Corporation has announced that it will begin construction on the expansion of Boracay-Caticlan Airport by the end of June this year to allow the airport to begin accommodating larger aircraft and direct flights from cities throughout Asia.
Image Source: Kalibo Airport/Facebook
Caticlan Airport is currently the seventh busiest airport in the Philippines catering to a growing number of tourists that are flying in to holiday at one of Asia's top beach destinations, Boracay Island.

In a statement released at the Philippine Stock Exchange, San Miguel Corporation revealed that the extension of the runway at Boracay Airport is on schedule as preparatory work continues.It is believed that construction will begin within the first half of this year and that preparatory work for a new terminal building will commence sometime in the fourth quarter of this year.

"Once the project is complete by 2016, the Boracay airport will be able to accommodate larger aircraft, boosting tourism not just to the country's top tourist destination, but also to the rest of the Visayas region," San Miguel Corporation said in the statement. Tourist arrivals rose 13 percent last year on Boracay with 1.363 million tourists visiting the island.

San Miguel Corporation owns Trans Aire Development Holdings Corporation, which holds a 25-year agreement to operate the Boracay Airport. Under the agreement with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and the Department of Transportation and Communications, the corporation holds the exclusive rights, obligations, and privileges to finance, design, construct, operate, and maintain the airport as part of the build-operate-transfer concession scheme. 

The airport expansion project includes the rehabilitation of the existing terminal building, the construction of a new 9,180 square meter two-storey international passenger terminal building, extension of the runway up to 2,100 meters, improvements to road networks, and an upgrade of the airport's overall facilities including navigational and traffic control systems. A sixteen hectare commercial property will also be developed beside the airport. Land preparation continues at the development site for the expanded airport with more than 50 percent of the work complete including earthworks and clearing operations.

Meanwhile, expansion of Kalibo International Airport is slowly progressing with the acquisition of land beginning in order to make way for a new and expanded apron providing more parking spaces for aircraft. The enhancements also include a correction of the existing runway's width. Once the initial phase is complete, the concreting of the expansion area, apron, and taxiway will follow, along with a new asphalt overlay on the runway and construction of a new perimeter security fence.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Asiana Airlines Launching Kalibo-Seoul Incheon Route

South Korea based Asiana Airlines is planning to launch flights to Boracay Island in an effort to meet growing demand from South Korean tourists wishing to holiday at the popular Asian beach resort island.

Copyright Photo: Anhongzhou/
According to the latest timetables released by the carrier, service between Seoul Incheon and Kalibo will begin on July 7 with four weekly flights. Most flights will depart Incheon at 8:00am for arrival at Kalibo International Airport at 11:40am, while return flights will depart Kalibo at 12:40pm arriving back at Incheon at 6:00pm.

The new route to Kalibo becomes Asiana's fourth destination in the Philippines after Manila, Cebu, and Clark. Complimentary meal and beverage service is provided on all Asiana international flights. Flights to Kalibo will be operated by an Airbus A320-200 aircraft configured with 143 seats. Eight of those seats are configured for Business Class with personal televisions. In Economy Class, all seats are equipped with personal audio and overhead screens are provided every five rows for in-flight entertainment.

Copyright Photo: Shyaman
Flights between South Korea and Kalibo are growing rapidly with a number of local carriers already operating services to Incheon and Busan including AirAsia Zest, Cebu Pacific, and Philippine Airlines. Asiana Airlines becomes the first foreign carrier to operate service from Korea to Kalibo. The South Korean carrier joins a handful of other foreign carriers offering scheduled or chartered flights to Kalibo including China Airlines, SilkAir, Yakutia Airlines, and Malaysia AirAsia. The majority of international flights from Kalibo continue to be operated by Philippine carriers. However, the new Asiana service becomes the first route operated from Kalibo by a Star Alliance carrier.

Last month, Philippine Airlines increased the number of flights it offers between Kalibo and Seoul Incheon to twice daily flights. On April 11, the airline plans to introduce a new flight between Kalibo and Busan. The route will be operated twice weekly utilizing an Airbus A320 aircraft. On July 24, PAL intends to increase the service on the new route up to four flights weekly.

The increasing number of international flights at Kalibo International Airport is expected to significantly boost the number of tourist arrivals helping the government to achieve its goal of 10 million international tourists by 2016. Although the growth centre continues to be Boracay Island, local officials remain optimistic that tourism will spread to the entire province of Aklan benefiting the local economy and leading to job creation.

Meanwhile, airlines and local officials in Kalibo continue to press for the continued development and upgrading of Kalibo International Airport which is set to become one of the country's major international gateways. Most recently, the President of Air Asia Philippines submitted a letter to Aklan Governor Florencio Mireflores outlining the airline's intentions to develop Kalibo International Airport into a major secondary hub.

In the letter, AirAsia revealed that it was planning to invest in the airport and construct its own hangar with parking facilities adjacent to the Kalibo Airport complex. In addition, it would base crews and two aircraft at the airport with plans to operate up to 320 weekly flights to local and international destinations as early as July.

The airline already serves a number of international destinations from Kalibo including Shanghai, Beijing, Busan, and Incheon. AirAsia will also be adding Kuala Lumpur and Taipei to its list of Kalibo international destinations while increasing service on its existing routes to Korea and China. AirAsia also plans a major international expansion to China from Kalibo by June 25 with direct service to a number of new cities including Wenzhou, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Ningbo, Changsha, Hangzhou, and Xiamen.

However, the airline requires the assurance of the government that the development of Kalibo International Airport will continue in a timely manner including the construction of new aircraft parking bays. The existing lack of adequate aircraft parking bays at Kalibo International Airport has resulted in several delays for passengers. AirAsia has already constructed its own passenger lounge across from the airport to meet the rapid growth of passenger traffic while helping to alleviate congestion in the terminal building.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Chinese Passengers Confront Cebu Pacific Pilots

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines is launching an investigation into an incident at Kalibo International Airport involving pilots of a Cebu Pacific aircraft and disgruntled Chinese passengers. According to reports, a confrontation erupted between pilots and passengers after a Cebu Pacific flight bound for Shanghai was forced to return to Kalibo due to bad weather on March 28.

cebu pacific shanghai
Copyright Photo: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG
Flight 5J-074 first departed Kalibo at 4:45pm on March 28 and was expected to arrive in Shanghai at 11:10pm but the aircraft was forced to divert back to Manila due to bad weather in China. The chartered flight was carrying 179 Chinese mainland tourists on board. The aircraft landed at Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 7:48pm where it remained for the next several hours awaiting weather updates and further instructions. 

When the weather did not improve, the aircraft departed Manila at 11:12pm and returned to Kalibo in accordance with Civil Aviation Authority protocol that requires aircraft with uncompleted flights to return to their airport of origin. The flight arrived in Kalibo at 11:59pm and passengers were disembarked to the departure area.

At approximately 3:00am, the Chinese passengers that were stranded at Kalibo International Airport saw Captain Johnny Tino and co-pilot Richard Avilla and allegedly mobbed and harassed them. According to CAAP reports, the agitated Chinese passengers "surrounded and blocked the two pilots from entering the terminal building."

The passengers were apparently angrily asserting demands for free meals and hotel accommodation. Reports indicate that the pilots were finally able to break free at approximately 3:40am when passengers allowed the pilots to leave after negotiating with members of the Aviation Security Group. Unconfirmed reports by Kalibo International Airport manager Cynthia Aspera suggested that Chinese passengers not only surrounded the pilots but also pinned their arms and refused to let them go. 

"They were demanding food and hotel accommodations," said Aspera. "The pilots tried to explain to the passengers that airlines do not provide free accommodation if the flight cancellation or suspension was due to bad weather but the passengers were insistent. It was also difficult to communicate with them because of language problems." 

Some media reports suggested that the pilots had been mauled and held hostage. However, Cebu Pacific's Vice President for Corporate Affairs Jorenz Tanada denied any mauling and stated that "the pilots are safe and accounted for." He added that the airline would conduct its own investigation into the matter. The pilots did not press any charges or file any formal complaints. 

Airport police said that the incident was merely a heated argument that caught the attention of authorities. Police reported that passenger Xue Weilang blocked the pilots after the aircraft returned to Kalibo as they were on their way back to the terminal building. He confronted the pilots because he was angry that the aircraft turned back to the Philippines. According to police, what made the situation worse was the absence of an interpreter while the pilots were negotiating with Xue. Both pilots and the Chinese tourist were later held by airport authorities for questioning for nearly 30 minutes. Airport police questioned Xue, believed to be the instigator of the incident, for being "arrogant and disrespectful toward the pilots." Xue was eventually released without any charges being filed. 

At approximately 4:00am on Sunday, an interpreter arrived and explained to Xue that the passengers could not travel to Shanghai with the current weather conditions for passenger safety. Airport authorities reported that the 179 marooned passengers were eventually provided with hotel accommodation by the travel agency that chartered the flight. The flight to Shanghai eventually departed from Kalibo on Monday, March 31 at 6:50pm.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Silk Air Adds Kalibo in 2014

SilkAir, the regional subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, is planning to offer a three times weekly service between Singapore and Kalibo beginning in May of this year. The new service would make Kalibo SilkAir's third destination in the Philippines after Davao and Cebu.

silkair kalibo
Image Source: SilkAir
The flights are scheduled to begin on May 27, 2014 as a circular routing through Cebu. The new Kalibo route announcement was made alongside another announcement that SilkAir would also be opening service to Mandalay in Myanmar. 

"As the regional wing of Singapore Airlines, SilkAir plays a role to extend the Singapore Airlines Group Network by seeding and developing emerging destinations," said SilkAir CEO Leslie Thng. "We are excited to be adding both Kalibo and Mandalay to our network and are confident that they will be well received."

With the addition of the new service, passengers travelling from Kalibo will be able to connect to more than 90 cities out of Singapore in the SilkAir-Singapore Airlines network. The new services will be operated by Airbus A320 and A319 aircraft offering a selection of business and economy class seats. The SilkAir A319 aircraft are configured with 8 Business Class seats and 120 Economy seats while the A320 aircraft are configured with 12 Business Class and 138 Economy seats. 

SilkAir has been serving the Philippines for more than ten years. The airline will be competing directly with budget carrier Tigerair Philippines that currently operates a three times weekly service between Kalibo and Singapore on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Kalibo is the capital of Aklan province and the gateway to one of Asia's most popular beach holiday destinations, Boracay Island. In a statement released to media, SilkAir said, "The island is known for its stunning white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. Besides soaking up the sun on its beautiful beaches, Boracay also offers a wide array of land and sea activities." 

The new SilkAir service is still subject to necessary approvals. With the addition of Mandalay and Kalibo, SilkAir will increase its route network to 47 routes in the Asia Pacific region. Based upon 2012 MIDT data, there is an estimated bi-directional origin and destination market of approximately 7,000 annual passengers between Singapore and Kalibo. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Mandarin Airlines Increases Kalibo Flights

A recent report from the Civil Aeronautics Board indicates that Mandarin Airlines will be increasing its direct service from Taipei to Kalibo from four weekly flights to daily service. 

mandarin airlines embraer e190
Image Source: Aero Icamus/Wikimedia
In an interview with the Manila Times, CAB Executive Director, Carmelo Arcilla indicated that the increase would only be temporary to satisfy demand during the peak travel season. "Mandarin Airlines is currently operating seven weekly flights," said Arcilla. "The seven weekly flights consist of four regular flights for a period of six months, plus three extra flights for a period of one month."

The move to increase service comes after Mandarin Airlines recently announced that it would be resuming service to Kalibo on October 18 after previously suspending the route following an international dispute between the Philippines and Taiwan last May. The flights will be operated by an Embraer 190 regional jet in a 104-seat single class economy configuration. Mandarin Airlines is the regional and domestic subsidiary of China Airlines.