Following a blessing ceremony for the bigger and modern airport terminal complex today, the new Puerto Princesa International Airport is ready to accommodate all local and international flights starting tomorrow, May 4.
Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General Capt. Jim C. Sydiongco, Korean Ambassador Kim Jae-Shin, Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez, and Puerto Princesa City Mayor Luis Marcaida lll led the blessing of the new international airport.
Speaking before the guests and attendees of the opening ceremony, DOTr Secretary Tugade said that Palawenos must take pride in the new facility, which can accommodate around 2 million passengers per year.
“I am very impressed and very happy to see a facility like this. I must make it very clear and put it on the record that this project was not started by the administration of President Duterte, but this project was completed during the term of President Duterte,” Tugade said.
Tugade added that the project was approved in 2011 but only completely realized in 2017. This means, according to the DOTr chief, that there was a delay because of government bureaucracy in the previous administration.
Aside from the newly-constructed airport, Tugade also announced that a regional airport in San Vicente, Palawan will be officially registered this year to the Philippines Aviation and is expected to be fully-operational next year.
Meanwhile, Korean Ambassador Kim Jae Shin said that “this P4.6-billion airport development project will open more opportunities and cooperation between Philippines and Korea”. Kim added that Koreans top the list in terms of tourist arrival in the Philippines since 2010, which account to 1.4 million per year. He also expressed hope to have a direct flight from Korean very soon.
“I believe that this project serves as a model for airport development in global scale. We know that the airport greatly contribute[s] to regional and national development,” Ambassador Kim said.
Governor Alvarez has conveyed his gratitude to the Korean government for helping in the realization of the project which was completed after 2 1/2 years. ”No [other] country is helping us like you do, Kamsa Hamnida,” he said.
Based on the information released by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to the media, the new airport terminal has a floor area of 13,000 square meters with a seating capacity of 1500, parking slot for over 200 cars and a 2,600-meter runway that can accommodate bigger aircraft like an Airbus A330 (with seating capacity of 400 pax) and 6 parking bays. An average of 20 flights operate daily, namely PAL Express (Manila & Cebu), Cebu Pacific (Manila, Cebu Mactan & Iloilo), Philippine AirAsia (Manila, Cebu Mactan & Davao), PAL (Manila, Clark, & Taipei-Taoyuan) and Air Juan (Busuanga & Cuyo).
The airport project was realized through the assistance of the Korean government under the Economic Development Cooperation Fund administered by the Export-Import Bank of Korea. The project was undertaken by Kumho Industrial Co. Ltd. and GS Engineering & Construction Joint Venture.
The Old Puerto Princesa Airport started its operation in 1978 with only 800 seating capacity.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) in a statement said that it is honored to see its latest addition to the list of airports upgraded to global standards. CAAP expects the new Puerto Princesa International Airport to be one of the best airports in Asia.
Starting May 4, all domestic flights shall be transferred to the new airport. As of writing, the airline check-in counters are being prepared for the first passengers to enjoy the new airport facility.