Tiger Airways Philippines
KALIBO - Tiger Airways Philippines welcomed the inaugural flight of its Singapore-Kalibo route at the Kalibo International Airport last Thursday.
It is the first flight in the country to fly directly from Singapore to Kalibo. Tiger Airways expects the route to boost, not only the tourism industry of Kalibo, but its economy as well.
"This would open opportunities for residents here in Kalibo. It will provide livelihood to everyone and will bring pride to the place," Tiger Airways Philippines CEO Olive Ramos said during the inauguration.
With the opening of the route, Ramos said Kalibo and the country will become more accessible to the European market. Singapore's Changi International Airport is widely considered to be an international hub that connects several flights from Europe and other countries to Asia.
"Singapore is just a gateway. We are attracting the whole world to our place," said Ramos.
Boracay was ranked 1st in last year's Travel + Leisure magazine's list of best islands in the world. "We call this flight 3 hours to paradise," quipped Ramos.
To keep up with the expected surge of tourists brought about by the new direct flight, Aklan governor Florencio "Joeben" Miraflores is currently working on several projects to improve infrastructure of the Kalibo International Airport, as well as in the whole province.
In addition to adding another terminal for domestic flights, the Kalibo International Airport will be expanding their apron to hold 10 planes instead of the current 4.
The Department of Transportation and Communications has already approved the project to help lessen air traffic congestion, according to Miraflores
Miraflores, in an interview, also mentioned the Kalibo Circumferential Road project, which will bypass 3 towns, reducing the travel time to Caticlan by 30 minutes.
"The target is to be able to travel from Kalibo to Caticlan in less than an hour," Miraflores said.
Also slated for completion soon is the Pook Port in Baranggay Pook, Kalibo, which will give tourists the option of going by land to Caticlan or by sea directly to Boracay.
Miraflores said that the projects have been earmarked to be completed by 2015.
"Nandito na yung pondo. It's just a matter of implementing it," said Miraflores.
1.5 million tourist arrivals
Meanwhile, former Aklan Governor Carlito Marquez considers the arrival of Tiger Airways in the province to be "very timely."
Marquez said he expects Kalibo to meet the target of 1.5 million tourists for 2013 set by the Department of Tourism.
"We are expecting 1.4 million. Pero nung dumating kayo [Tiger Airways], kaya na yang natitirang 100,000," Marquez said.
Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Minda Calaguian-Cruz, one of the first passengers of the flight, said this will further strengthen the relationship between Singapore and the Philippines.
"It will open another gateway and accessibility of the Philippines to the rest of the Singapore community," said Cruz in an interview.
Cruz added that this is a good opportunity, not only for trade, but also for "a better understanding" between the two cultures.
Department of Tourism Marketing Director for Singapore and Indonesia Charles Leong said that this new flight will make going to Boracay more enticing to Singaporeans.
"This direct flight removes the risk of missing a flight connection. Save the cost of terminal fees [and] makes it cheaper."
"Boracay is perfect for a 2 or 3-night vacation and the schedules are perfect for a weekend or a short break," Leong added.
Tiger Airways now offers direct flights to Kalibo from Singapore and vice versa, with ticket prices starting from as low as P2,499.