Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Study marketability of int’l flights for new Iloilo Airport

Iloilo City's Night View: One fo the Reasons for Int'l Flight
By: Tara Yap

THE DEPARTMENT of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is urging for a more comprehensive study on the marketability of international flights at the New Iloilo Airport.

“It needs further study,” said DOTC Assistant Secretary Ildefonso Patdu Jr.

“The decision whether or not to have international flights is dictated by market forces,” Patdu explained.

Patdu earlier disclosed that a P698-million fund is set for a five-year development plan that will reconfigure the airport of international standard from its current domestic operations into international operations.

Domestically, Patdu said that the New Iloilo Airport has performed beyond its expected capacity by exceeding air traffic forecast.

Air Transportation Office (ATO) recorded 1,570,361 actual passengers in 2010, which was way above the forecast of 1,222,000 passengers for the year. It also exceeded the 2015 forecast of 1,431,000 passengers.

In terms of aircraft movement, there were 15,902 flights in 2010. This is also way above the forecast of 10,970 flights for 2010 and the 11,700 flights for 2015.

Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. echoed Patdu’s suggestions into having feasibility study for international flights.

Defensor’s own suggestion is focused into analyzing the number of Ilonggos who are Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and the area where they work for a possible direct flight from and to the New Iloilo Airport.

Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog has earlier announced the possibility of direct flights from Hong Kong or China for the 2012 Dinagyang Festival.

However, former Department of Tourism (DOT 6) regional director Edwin Trompeta said there is a need to reassess the tourism potential of Iloilo and to market it as destination other than the seasonal Dinagyang festivities.

Trompeta said Iloilo is only a gateway for tourists going to the popular beach destination of Boracay and other places in the island of Panay.

Atty. Jose Tesoro, former Civil Aeronautics Board member, said Iloilo must sell itself for tourists to come.

The New Iloilo Airport, built of international standard, has been in operation since June 2007.


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