(Photo courtesy of CAAP Puerto Princesa City)


Palawan governor Jose Alvarez said he is in favor of re-opening the Puerto Princesa International Airport to domestic travel, in order to “prime” the province’s tourism sector which has been hit hard by the coronavirus lockdowns.

Gov. Alvarez, speaking online Wednesday, expressed his stance which was contrary to the position taken by the City government in response to plans by Philippine Airlines to resume commercial operations starting next week.

“In order to pime again the local tourism, kailangan buksan natin ang airport,” Alvarez said.

He said he was not in favor of the city government’s position which was conveyed to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) in a letter.

“Medyo hindi ako sang-ayon sa City na sumulat sa CAAP na June 30,” Alvarez said. “We need the flights but if the City will not allow Puerto Princesans to board that flight so be it,” he added.

Madel Espartero, spokesperson of Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAA)-Puerto Princesa City, said their decision will also be informed by the position of the city government.

“Kami ay naghihintay rin sa official communication from city government regarding their stand on the resumption of flights,” Madel Espartero, spokesperson of Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAA)-Puerto Princesa City, said.

This, after flag-carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) and AirAsia Inc. earlier announced plans to resume commercial operations starting June 11 to and from Puerto Princesa City.

Lawyer Arnel Pedrosa, city administrator, in an earlier statement Saturday, said that a letter was sent to CAAP officials, signed by city incident commander Doctor Dean Palanca, requesting to delay the airport reopening.

“City already stated its position: We are not that ready,” Pedrosa through a text message.

Pedrosa also said that Mayor Lucilo Bayron supports the City Council’s move to request airport officials in delaying the PPIA reopening to at least June 30.

Espartero advised the passengers to coordinate with their respective airlines before purchasing their tickets.

“We advise na dapat mag-coordinate ang mga flying passengers natin sa airlines about the selling of tickets for June before sila mag-book,” Espartero said.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, in a statement on Tuesday, said that the local government units must categorically support the resumption of domestic commercial operations.

“Kailangan lang dito, aprubado ng local government,” Tugade emphasized.

CAAP Director General Capt. Jim G. Sydiongco said that airlines may verify and confirm with concerned airport authorities if airports are allowed to resume operations.

“We advise airlines and air operators to communicate with the airport authorities having jurisdiction over the airport concerned to ensure proper coordination with the intended destination,” Capt. Sydiongco said.

(With reports from Aira Genessa Magdayao)