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ILOILO CITY Development and Tourism:
Development Updates

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

EXPANSION of New Iloilo Airport...

PASSENGER traffic at the new Iloilo airport has been increasing that it might reach its full carrying capacity before 2015, an official of the Iloilo Business Club (IBC) said.

Ma. Lea Victoria Lara, IBC executive director, said air transport officials are bracing for the increase in passenger traffic of the new airport in Cabatuan-Sta. Barbara towns.

Citing discussions with airport officials and feasibility study of the airport, Lara said the airport’s maximum carrying capacity is projected at 1.5 million by 2015.

But as of 2010, the Air Transportation Office already recorded 1 million arrivals at the airport. It is projected that the new airport will hit the 1.5 million mark this year.

Lara said increased number of airlines and the airport’s international standards could be factors in the surge in passenger traffic of the airport.

For example, ZestAir, a new player in the airline industry which offers low price fares, is occupying the check-in counter reserved for the airport management.

“At the check in counter, we can already see proof of increased traffic which also translates to more passengers going to Iloilo. The airport also has night landing equipment and can accommodate wide-bodied planes which have more carrying capacity,” Lara said.

Lara said the hike in airline passengers to Iloilo is an indication that the city and province are fast becoming havens for investors and visitors.

The IBC official said they hope that air transport agencies can address the growing traffic in the airport to maintain the convenience and comfort it presently offers.

The increase comes in the heels of plans to bring in chartered international flights to Iloilo, particularly tourists from China and Korea.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), which manages airports in the country, allotted P43 million for the repair and improvement of the various facilities at the airport, which caters to 21 flights a day from Manila, Cebu and Davao as major destinations.

The New Iloilo airport was inaugurated on June 13, 2007 and opened to commercial flights on June 14, 2007. It was a replacement to the old Iloilo domestic airport in Mandurriao, Iloilo City which served Iloilo for more than 50 years.

The airport is the first to have modern, latest technology, belonging to Category F, as determined by the International Civil Aviation (ICA) Organization. This means that the airport is accredited as a qualifier for international standards.

The new airport project was inaugurated by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on January 25, 2004 in Cabatuan, the primary site of the airport. The airport project was funded with a P6.2-billion loan from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

Physical construction work on the airport started April 14, 2004 with the original expected deadline of completion in June 2007, although the expected deadline was moved to the first quarter of 2007.

Taisei-Shimizu Joint Venture was the contractor for the project, with Phil-Japan Airport Consultants, Inc. managing it and serving as the government’s consultant to the project.

The project was completed in March of 2007, ahead of schedule but overshot its budget. Its final cost jumped to around P9 billion.