PAL ventures into Boracay ferry service

Philippine Airlines (File photo from Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines went out to sea with its latest business venture.

PAL, through wholly-owned subsidiary Mabuhay Maritime Express, launched on Tuesday a premium ferry service between Kalibo to Boracay Island, which will reopen to the public on Oct. 26.

With the launch, PAL hopes to extend its reach outside its traditional airline business.

Kalibo International Airport is a key gateway to Boracay Island since it can serve large commercial and chartered flights such as those coming from South Korea and China.

Before the launch of Mabuhay Maritime’s service, a trip from Kalibo to Boracay would take over two hours and would involve travel by land and a short boat transfer. The ferry service cuts that to an hour and a half, with an economy roundtrip to cost around P1,500. That rate includes onboard meals. It will also offer premium seating at P2,000 and first-class seats at P2,500.

PAL president Jaime Bautista said they intended to package the ferry trips with their flights to Kalibo Airport.

“We decided to join and revolutionize the inter-island ferry service business to complement local air travel as a holistic approach to promoting Philippine tourism,” Bautista said on Tuesday.

Mabuhay Maritime will start with two vessels—high-speed catamarans name MV Malambing and MV Magalang—with a capacity of 410 passengers each.

Bautista said they would test the waters with the two vessels. He added that Mabuhay Maritime might eventually acquire more ships and expand is routes. Mabuhay Maritime announced that it would also build its own jetty port in Kalibo, located 10 minutes from the airport. There will be a free shuttle service to transfer passengers, according to the company. —MIGUEL R. CAMUS