Davao wants own airport authority

Subscribe Now January 17, 2014 at 08:55am

The city council and the business sector are pushing for the creation of the Davao International Airport Authority (DIAA) in support of the government's open skies policy and to make the use of funds more efficient.

The city council said it fully supports House Bill 1371, “An Act Creating the Davao International Airport Authority, Inc.”, filed last July 11 by the city’s second district representative, Mylene Garcia-Albano.

Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. earlier expressed its support for the bill and said it will help boost the economy of the city.

“This is the best time to create a body that will undertake the control and supervision of the airport now that the Aquino administration has adopted the open skies policy,” Ms. Garcia-Albano said.

Since an open skies policy is more liberalized, with reduced restrictions from the government on price and the number of flights, the establishment of the DIAA is logical as the airport would be governed by a board with full control of decision-making and budgeting, the lawmaker said.

The DIAA board would include representatives from national agencies and operate as a separate entity to control the airport’s runway, air navigation and tower. It would also be given the power to levy and collect dues, charges, fees or assessments for the use of the airport; invest its idle funds; and exercise police authority.

“Under the present arrangement, the income generated by the airport does not go 100% to it but is used to subsidized other airports as well,” said Councilor Leonardo R. Avila III, chairman of the city’s transportation and communication committee.

Mr. Avila’s data showed that the airport had the following income from terminal fee collections alone: P227 million in 2010; P267 million in 2011; and P284 million in 2012. There are other sources of income for the airport, including the landing fees, tube fees and cargo fees, among others, which also reach millions of pesos.

The 10-year-old Davao airport is badly in need of major repairs, with damaged air conditioners in the departure area and only three of the six X-ray machines still working. Without an independent board, the airport has to wait for inclusion in the Transportation department’s rehabilitation plans to get the repairs done.

Agnes B. Udang, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines -- Davao airport manager, said the airport has to make do with a P70-million annual budget, P58 million of which goes to maintenance works.

The Davao airport has at least 15,000 passengers flying in and out of the city on a daily basis.

Source: bworldonline.com

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