BOY RYAN B. ZABAL
CATICLAN, Malay, Aklan - No one was injured when a Zest Airways plane (formerly Asian Spirit) overshot the Godofredo P. Ramos airport (Caticlan airport) runway yesterday morning.
Kalibo airport manager Engr. Percy Malonesio said all scheduled domestic flights to Caticlan airport were temporarily diverted by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to Kalibo International Airport in the capital town of Kalibo until further notice.
Zest Air flight Z2-863, piloted by Captain Bernard Hervosa and Capt. Jeffrey Lim as co-pilot, carrying 55 passengers bound to the famous island of Boracay landed safely, but, got stuck in the canal near the provincial highway, airport officials said.
Malonesio said a CAAP investigation team would look into the Xian M60 incident en route from Manila to Caticlan when it lost control at around 7:55 a.m. Thursday on runway 24 forcing the airport authorities to temporarily shut down its operations.
Tourists bound to Manila had to be transported to Kalibo International Airport, about 66 kms from Caticlan, after the Zest Air blocked the end runway of Caticlan airport, it was learned.
Last January 2009, the Zest Air Chinese-built twin turboprop Flight CK865 also landed short of the Caticlan airport runway. At least 22 passengers were taken to a hospital for treatment.
Xi’an Aircraft Company of China Aviation Industry Corporation I (AVICI) develops the turboprop aircraft. Zest Air, Asia's refreshing airline, will be adding six more M60 aircrafts to expand its network and to establish domestic hubs in the country.
Caticlan Airport, the main-jump-off point to the premier beach destination of Boracay Island, is also serving the small planes of Philippine Airlines Express, South East Airlines, Interisland Airlines and Cebu Pacific.
The airport has 24,658 flights last year, making it one of the top five busiest airports in the country.