A wholly-owned subsidiary of Philippine Airlines said the new ferry service between Kalibo, Aklan and the resort island of Boracay will further boost tourism in the Visayas.
“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, “ Mabuhay Maritime Express president Jaime Bautista said.
MME, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PAL, will mount regular Kalibo-Boracay ferry services using two brand-new 42-meter catamarans with tri-class configuration including first class, premium class and regular.
The 410-seater, high-speed catamarans, named MV Malambing and MV Magalang, will make four daily runs each initially. The frequency will increase to eight by December.
“We aim to offer travelers a seamless air to sea transfer, taking passengers to their favorite tourist destinations as fast and as comfortable as possible,” said Bautista, who is also the president and chief operating officer of PAL.
More than 40-inter-island ferry companies have been plying the waters around the archipelago for decades, providing inexpensive transport for passengers, cargo and vehicles from major domestic points.
With support from the local government, MME is building its own jetty port in Kalibo, 10 minutes away from the airport where free shuttles are available for Boracay-bound passengers.
The hour-and-a-half ferry service will be fastest route to Boracay.
Apart from modern facilities and generous amenities, the two ferries have attendants that provide heartfelt service similar to the pampering of a 4-star global airline.
MME earlier secured a green light from the Board of Investments as a domestic shipping operator of high-speed passenger ship with a project cost of P602 million to service the Kalibo-Boracay route.
Boracay is popular with Chinese and South Korean visitors, which are also the largest markets for the Philippine tourism industry.
PAL’s parent firm PAL Holdings Inc. posted a comprehensive loss of P444.78 million in the first six months. Revenues reached P75.13 billion in the first half, up 13 percent from P66.31 billion a year ago.
PAL Holdings’ total expenses climbed 15.2 percent to P75.57 billion from the previous year’s P65.61 billion on higher cost of aviation fuel this year.