Business chamber pushes for authority over Davao airport

Subscribe Now June 19, 2017 at 10:19am

The Davao City International Airport (DIA), also known as the Francisco Bangoy International Airport, is in urgent need of a more focused management through the creation of an independent authority similar to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA), according to an official of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII).

“The situation now of DIA is really not at par with our standards.... (P)assengers’ overall experience include init kaayo (poor air-conditioning system), terminal is not really that welcoming, so we need to address this (immediately) by way of converting the current set-up into an authority with local autonomy,” Arturo M. Milan, DCCCII Trustee, told media in a forum last Wednesday.

The DIA has been pulled out of the public-private partnership scheme and the national government aims to undertake its development through development assistance funding.

“It was put under the national budget and we do expect the rehabilitation will start very soon. But unless it (the management) will be converted into an authority, nothing will happen, ...even if... the facility (is upgraded),” Mr. Milan said, adding that there are too many airports under one agency.

The DIA is currently under the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, which, based on its Web site, handles 85 airports nationwide.

The MCIAA, on the other hand, is a government-owned and controlled corporation that is primarily tasked to manage the Mactan airport in Cebu. It was created through Republic Act 6958 in 1990.

“Cebu is a good model and we need to follow the model if we really want to make DIA more attractive, even in inviting foreign airlines. There is flexibility if the DIA (is under its own) authority,” Mr. Milan said.

At present, the only international flights at the DIA are to and from Singapore. There have been discussions for direct flights with China as well as the Middle East following the recent air talks between the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates.

Mr. Milan said he has also been discussing with the Indonesian Consul General the possibility of relaunching the Davao-Manado route with a link to Bali, one of Indonesia’s major tourist destinations, as well as popular diving site Palau.

“You need to have the traffic, and (Bali in) Indonesia is one of the biggest tourist attractions.... (F)rom Bali to Manado to Davao and after Davao go directly to Palau. Palau is just 45 minutes away from Davao City,” Mr. Milan said.

“Because of the limited scale of operation (at present), you also have limited revenue. It’s just a matter of having an authority that will automatically fund it because it needs a lot of marketing, planning. That is why Cebu has many international flights because they know how to plan and open up Mactan to other foreign airlines,” he added.

Davao City 2nd District Rep. Mylene Garcia-Albano has re-filed a previous bill seeking to establish the Davao International Airport Authority (DIAA). A counterpart Senate bill has also been put forward by Sen. Juan Miguel F. Zubiri.


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