Kalibo International closes airport

Cancels 16 domestic and international flights

July 20, 2009

KALIBO – The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) ordered the closure of Kalibo International Airport (KIA) yesterdayfrom 4 p.m. until 7 a.m. today after loose asphalt debris was reported floating on the recently resurfaced-runway causing cancellation of flights and stranding more than 3,000 domestic and international passengers.

Flight Safety.
CAAP ordered the closure of the airport as a precautionary measure to avoid aircraft accident resulting to Foreign Object Debris (FOD) on the runway, the same runway object that caused the crash of Concorde in Paris, France in 2001.

The asphalted aggregates that was recently laid to the runway the night before was known to have disintegrated by the weight of the aircraft after it made its landing roll early morning Sunday.

Improper curing of the resurfaced runway was attributed to weather conditions causing it to break and disintegrate says Percy Malonesio, Kalibo airport manager. The airport experienced heavy downpour earlier affecting the bonding strength of the laid asphalt.

FOD is any object that does not belong to the airplane, and includes object such as animals and birds, stones and other aircraft parts that can result to aircraft damage, or engine ingestion resulting to engine damage or instability of flight that might cause accident, or airport and airline personnel injury.

After the Concorde crash in 2001, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) issued a guideline to all regulatory aviation bodies (FAA Advisory Circulars 150/5380-5B, Debris Hazards at Civil Airports, and 150/5370-2C, Operational Safety on Airports During Construction) requiring a daily, daylight inspection of airplane maneuvering areas and removal of FOD.

The airport closure is necessary to clean and repair the damaged areas says Malonesio who promises to reopen the airport at 7AM today.

Cancelled Flights.
Cancelled flights were three Kalibo-bound flights of Zest Air, namely Flights Z2-875, Z2-883 and Z2-897, all of which were supposed to depart the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 2:20 p.m., 3:40 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday. Three return flights to Manila, Z2-874, Z2-882 and Z2-896 -- scheduled to arrive at NAIA at 4 p.m., 6:20 p.m. and 6:40 p.m. respectively -- were also cancelled.

Also cancelled were four flights of Philippine Airlines, namely PR-324, PR-325 and PR-326, which were supposed to leave NAIA at 3:45 p.m., 4:05 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., respectively. Another flight, PR-323, left NAIA at 1:07 a.m. but was diverted to Iloilo airport and was now on its way back to Manila.

Seven Kalibo-bound Cebu Pacific flights were also cancelled, 5J-341, 5J-343 and 5J-345, set to leave NAIA 3 at 3:30 p.m., 4:25 p.m. and 5:10 p.m. on Sunday. Three return flights to Manila, 5J-338, 5J-342, 5J-344 and 5J-346 -- the last three which were to arrive early Sunday evening -- were also cancelled.

Michelle de Guzman, Cebu Pacific corporate communications manager, said they had two extra flights yesterday to accommodate the passengers of their three Manila-bound flights affected by the airport closure.

Cebu Pacific had seven flights from Manila to Kalibo and their returning flights, and one flight from Cebu to Kalibo and its returning flight that were cancelled.

International flights to Taiwan and Korea was also cancelled due to the airport closure.

Traffic diversion.
Kalibo airport has seen busy operations lately after much of Caticlan passenger traffic was diverted by major domestic airlines in July 9, 2009 after its runway was shortened by CAAP to avoid another accident at the airport. PAL, Cebu Pacific, and Zest were protesting new airport guidelines being implemented in neighboring Caticlan airport in Aklan.

Airlines complained of the landing weight limitations imposed by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP). The CAAP designated the Caticlan airport as a one-way airport, which means take-off should be towards the sea, and landing in the opposite direction.

New International flights.
In another development, Malonesio disclosed that Kalibo will soon serve nine direct international flights weekly from the airport with new flights and airline operators. Zest Air and Asiana will be introducing direct flight from Seoul, South Korea from July 27 while China Eastern Airlines is expected to land at the KIA before the end of the year.

“Aside from these flights, the Mandarin Airline still continue to land in Kalibo directly from Taipei in Taiwan,” said Malonesio.

Kalibo International Airport has the following International airlines as operators--- Mandarin Airlines, China Airlines, and soon to be Asiana and China Eastern. Of the local airlines, PAL, CEB and Zest, only Zest Airways flies international flight out of Kalibo to Seoul, South Korea. Most of the passengers are bound to world famous Boracay Island.

First foreign airline.
Kalibo International witnessed the arrival of its first international airline in June 14, 2008 when the maiden flight of Mandarin Airlines from Taipei, Taiwan touched down the Kalibo International Airport Saturday. Boeing 737-800 flight AE7265 left Taipei at 4:20 PM. and reached Kalibo at 6:40 PM.

Mandarin Airlines’ supervisor for passenger handling Richard Ma said many Taiwanese want to visit Boracay Island. “They like to travel to the Philippines because the service standards are very good,” Ma added.

The Mandarin Airlines’ Kalibo-Taipei flight is the fourth Philippine destination of the airline. It also has flights from Taipei to Cebu, Subic and Laoag. Established on June 1, 1991, the Mandarin Airlines services regional short-haul international and domestic routes.

Its second international operating airline is China Airlines which landed at the airport in November 27, 2008. The E-190 flight CI-7913 with 90 passengers arrived at 9:30AM and operates on a twice a week service.


  1. Good information here. Just trying to get to Boracay next month. Mandarin airline flies there but they are charter flights so one has to book through an travel agency..

  2. Wow, amazing site.. updated flight and cancellation..very informative..