Revival of Subic Airport pushed

By Richmond Mercurio | The Philippine Star

CAPAS, Tarlac, Philippines — The government is seriously looking at reviving the idle Subic Airport and make it operational within the first half of next year to serve as a possible hub for business jets and help decongest the country’s main international gateway.

“We are now closely looking at making the Subic Airport operational once again. We are in serious conversations with the Subic authorities. That airport has been idle for so many years and will soon be operational again,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said in a briefing here.

Talks of reviving the airport have been made in the past but nothing has materialized to date.

Tugade, however, said the plan this time around is more concrete, as he expects the airport to be operational once again by not later than the second quarter of next year.

“There are now ongoing serious talks and the way I see it, I think in the right time that will become operational,” he said.

In 2010, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority planned to convert the airport after the Federal Express transferred its Asia Pacific hub from Subic to Guangzhou in China.

“If you give life to the airport, which has been inoperable for a number of years, you have to look at the structure. There is not much problems in its structure as the problem is the aviation instrument component,” Tugade said.

“You will not simply put an airport because an aircraft will land. Topmost consideration is for an aircraft to land safely. If you consider the safety basis and comfort of the riding public in that aircraft, you have to recognize the aviation instrumentation,” he added.

Sought for further details regarding the planned revival of the Subic Airport, Transportation Undersecretary Skee Tamayo told The STAR the agency is working closely with the SBMA in inspecting the facilities of the airport.

“We told them what is needed. So it’s their turn to move, and they said they needed navigational aids,” Tamayo said.

Tamayo said the planned revival of the Subic Airport would, in a way, ease congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

“What we heard, that’s why we’re pushing as well, is that they are not inviting commercial airlines because they are so close to Manila and Clark. What they want is business jets to base their aircrafts there not only from the Philippines but from nearby Hongkong,” he said.

“It’s a different model they have. Their direction is more to entice the business jets, even our own, to move there. That will still decongest Metro Manila,” Tamayo said.

He said a major flying school is now planning to move to the Subic Airport from Clark.

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