Caticlan airport restrictions may be lifted in September

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Restrictions on landings and takeoffs at The Philippines' Caticlan airport could be lifted in September, when a hill that obstructs one of its approaches is likely to be flattened.

"Caticlan airport is still open, but only closed to bigger aircraft," says Jose Saplan, chief of the aircraft accident investigations board at the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

Given the importance of nearby Boracay as a tourist destination, Saplan says the Philippines secretary of transportation and communications told the CAAP to "knock down the hill as soon as possible, because tourism season starts in September".

In late June, the CAA said aircraft can use only runway 06 (from the sea) for landing and runway 24 (toward the sea) for taking off.

The restrictions were imposed after an incident on 25 June when a Xian Aircraft MA60 turboprop operated by Zest Airways overshot the runway while trying to land on runway 24. Nobody was hurt in the accident.

Saplan says that a contract has been awarded to expand the airport terminal and runway. While he does not have a timeframe, he expects the project to get underway later this year.