OPERATIONAL SOON. A portion of Borongan City Airport runway in Eastern Samar province. Philippine Airlines will launch its Cebu-Borongan flight on Dec. 19, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Borongan City information office)

TACLOBAN CITY – Borongan City, the capital of Eastern Samar province, will soon be accessible by air from Metro Manila through the Cebu-Borongan flight of flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) that will be launched this December.

The city government announced on its official Facebook page on Sunday that PAL has set connecting flights to make travel from Manila to Borongan City more convenient.

Borongan-bound passengers can take the 8:55 a.m. flight in Manila and arrive in Cebu at 10:20 a.m. From Cebu, a turboprop plane will depart for Borongan at 11 a.m. and arrive at noon.

Similarly, those heading to Manila from Borongan will fly to Cebu from the province at 12:30 p.m. and arrive after an hour. An airbus plane will leave at 3:10 p.m. in Cebu and land in Manila at 4:50 p.m.

The schedule is every Mondays and Fridays. The maiden flight to Borongan City Airport on Dec. 19 will signal the start of PAL’s operation days before Christmas.

“The waiting time of three to four hours for the Manila-Cebu-Borongan air travel is the same time spend for land travel from Borongan to Tacloban Airport,” said PAL Vice President for Sales Salvador Britanico in a video message posted by the city government.

The official said direct Manila-Borongan flights are not yet feasible since the airport facility in Eastern Samar has no capability to handle an airbus. The community airport has a runway of 1,600 meters.

The launching of Cebu-Borongan flight will allow PAL to cover the three Samar provinces, according to Britanico. The flag carrier has been flying from Manila to Catarman in Northern Samar and Calbayog City in Samar.

“The flight schedule to and from Borongan was studied and deliberated carefully to cater both official travel from Monday to Friday and weekend tourists for Borongan and people of Eastern Samar visiting other places,” the Borongan local government said in a statement.

On Nov. 29, Borongan City Mayor Jose Ivan Dayan Agda and PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Capt. Stanley Ng signed a memorandum of agreement to start flight operations from Cebu to Borongan City Airport.

Currently, travelers to the capital of Eastern Samar province have to land at Tacloban Airport and take a five- to a six-hour land trip to reach Borongan City. The other option is to travel by land from Manila, which takes about two days.

The flights to Borongan City will also benefit Eastern Samar and nearby Northern Samar towns, such as Lapinig, Gamay, and Mapanas, according to the city government.

PAL is the first commercial airline to launch a regular flight to Borongan City after the local airport’s completion in March 2013. Initial talks for the opening of the flight route started in July 2022. (PNA)