Photo Courtesy: Phil JAC

The New Iloilo Airport at Cabatuan, Iloilo

News Blog about the New Iloilo Airport

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

‘GATEWAY TO THE WORLD’, GMA to land at new Iloilo airport

Panay News. 6/12/2007

ILOILO City – The airplane carrying President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo lands at the new Iloilo airport of international standard today, another historic moment for the municipality of Cabatuan, Iloilo.

The occasion marks the inauguration of the P8.759-billion Iloilo Airport Development Project which is expected to boost economic activity and tourism in the island of Panay.
The new airport would serve as the gateway to the Visayas of air travelers in the country and worldwide, said Regional Director Arturo Valero of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).

The new Iloilo airport is a modern 188-hectare complex designed to handle 1.2 million passengers and 11, 500 tons of cargoes per year, and can accommodate aircraft as big as Airbus 330 with a seating capacity of 276.

It is also described as comparatively the best and the earliest ever constructed outside of Metro Manila.

Expected to assist the President during the inauguration are Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Ryuichiro Yamazaki, Transportation and Communication Secretary Leandro Mendoza and other national and local officials.

The inauguration and opening of the new Iloilo airport has long been delayed. Arroyo was scheduled to open it last April 16 but with the First Gentleman undergoing a critical heart operation, she cancelled her Iloilo trip.

Days before today’s opening, Bessi Cebuano, a staff from the Air Transportation Office (ATO), said airline companies have started transferring some of their facilities from the existing Iloilo airport in Mandurriao district in this city to the new Iloilo airport property.
Cebuano said ATO personnel and offices started transfering on June 7.
"The transfer will be a big boost to the business sector," Valero said.

The government plans to sell the existing 54-hectare Mandurriao airport property.

During an earlier visit here, Arroyo said she was confident that the closure and privatization of the Mandurriao facility would further boost local tourism and economic activities.

The new Iloilo airport is really intended to serve as catalyst for development, according to Ed Mangalili, Project Manager of the Iloilo Airport Project.

He recently briefed members of the Regional Development Council during their tour of the facilities of the new arport.

Mangalili said the airport would not only spur development around the area but even in the whole of Panay.

Tourism officials hope the new Iloilo airport of international standards will serve as gateway to Western Visayas’ tourist destinations.

Department of Tourism (DOT) Regional Director Edwin Trompeta sees a surge in tourist arrivals and tourism revenues particularly in Boracay, considered as one of the world’s best beaches.

The construction of the new Iloilo airport came about because the old airport is no longer capable of future air demand, Mangalili said.

Among others, it also boasts of a 2.5 kilometer by 45 meter wide runway which can accommodate Airbus 330 and 340 and Boeing 747 planes, three Passenger Bridges, two baggage claim conveyors, a 500-seating capacity passenger lounge, a three-kilometer access road and nine separate buildings.

Three airline companies have availed themselves of space within the new airport – Philippine Airlines, the country’s flag carrier; Cebu Pacific, and Air Philippines.
Spaces within the airport are also open to concessionaires.

The completed airport facilities were formally turned over to the Air Transportation office on March 19. ATO manages the facilities, said Alan Java, ATO Area Manager.
Earlier, Senate President Frnaklin Drilon said the delay in the operation of the new airport is costing the Department of Transportation and Communications and Air Transportation Office millions of pesos in maintenance, electricity and security costs.

The delayed operation also means a delay in the entrance of economic benefits that the new airport will bring not only to Iloilo Province and City, but also to the whole Region 6.

Meanwhile to enhance the competitive advantages of the country's five super regions, the government is set to complete this year, aside from the new Iloilo airport, seven other airport projects that would further promote tourism and logistics by providing a more efficient mode of transport for goods and passengers.

The eight airport projects are part of the 31 priority airport projects costing P94.37 billion targeted to be completed by 1022 under the Medium Term Public Investment Program (MTPIP).

Panay News. 6/12/2007


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