ILOILO CITY — The Iloilo City government is in talks with carrier AirAsia Philippines over the possibility of offering flights to the South Korean gateway of Incheon and Xiamen in China, the Tourism department said.
The push for more connectivity comes as the city hosts meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) this year, raising the region’s profile among international tourists, the Department of Tourism in Region 6 (DoT-6) said
“With Iloilo’s hosting of the APEC meetings this July, September and October, we do hope that more visitors will be coming in from the 21-member economies of APEC that will impact our number of flights and hotel accommodation,” said lawyer Helen J. Catalbas, DoT-6 director.
Ms. Catalbas said Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog is currently leading talks with AirAsia Philippines, Inc. with the aim of launching services next year.
South Korea and China are both APEC members, along with Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, the United States,and Vietnam.
For domestic flights, Ms. Catalbas said she has participated in discussions for the introduction of flights between Iloilo and Cotabato.
“For Mindanao, our flights for Davao, General Santos and Cagayan de Oro are going strong. We are looking at adding Cotabato. What is important is we can sustain the flights,” she said.
The airport’s current local routes include Manila, Cebu, Tacloban, Puerto Princesa, General Santos, Davao and Cagayan de Oro.
The Iloilo International Airport, located in the town of Cabatuan, will be bid out for upgrade works under the public-private partnership (PPP) program. The contract cost is P30.4 billion covering expansion, operation and maintenance over a 30-year period.
It is part of the PPP airport Bundle 1 that includes the Bacolod-Silay Airport with an indicative cost of P20.26 billion.
Prospective bidders, based on the PPP Center Web site, include GMR Infrastructure Ltd.-Megawide Construction Corp., the Metro Pacific Investments Corp.-JG Summit Holdings, Inc. consortium, Aboitiz Equity Ventures, San Miguel Corp., Philippine Skylanders, Inc., and Union Equities, Inc.
The submission of qualification documents has been moved to Aug. 10 from July 27.
Source: Louine Hope Conserva, http://www.bworldonline.com