PAL Group to start fastcraft trips next year?

A subsidiary of flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) which has long been planning to establish direct sea trips between the resort island of Mactan in Cebu and Tagbilaran City could start servicing the route early next year.

According to Tagbilaran Philippine Ports Authority manager Engr. James Gantalao, Mabuhay Maritime Express Transport Inc. is initially expected to start Mactan-Tagbilaran operations in January next year.

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The firm was supposed to establish the sea route last month but was unable to secure all the necessary documents to start operations.

Gantalao said that Mabuhay Maritime has already requested for a berthing area for its vessel at the Tagbilaran port.

The fastcraft will be prioritizing PAL passengers but non-airline passengers will still be accommodated.

PAL passengers at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport who are planning to cross to Bohol will be taken by a service bus to the fastcraft docked at the Cebu Yacht Club, said Gantalao based on information relayed by the firm.

Meanwhile, another fastcraft firm has contacted the PPA and expressed interest in starting operations in Tagbilaran.

Gantalao however did not name the company as it has yet to release more information on the matter.

In May, a local PAL official who spoke on condition of anonymity for lack of clearance to discuss the matter said that the sea trips of Mabuhay Maritime were initially intended to cater to tourists bound for Boracay but the plan shifted to Bohol after the island’s closure earlier this year.

Initial plans also indicated that PAL, Mabuhay Maritime’s majority owner, intends to use two fastcrafts to ply the Tagbilaran-Mactan route. (A. Doydora)



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