Bacolod airport ‘ready for international flights by June'

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

NEGROS Occidental Representative Albee Benitez (third district) said Monday that the Bacolod Silay Airport will be ready to serve international flights starting June.

With the intercession of Senator, Chiz Escudero, Benitez said Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. committed to act on the installation of the needed equipment and personnel so that the local airport will be capable of handling international flights.

He said David did not deny the request made by Bacolod City Mayor Evelio R. Leonardia and City Administrator John N. Orola Jr. regarding direct flights of Korean tourists to the local airport.


He said David instead asked for more time to prepare the logistical requirement, which will enable the airport to accommodate international flights. By next month, Immigration personnel can start installing the needed equipment.

Even if there is no flight coming in, the airport will be ready for international flights.

Benitez also said there is no need yet to extend the runway.

"In fact, Silay City Mayor Oti Montelibano has requested President PNoy (Benigno Aquino III) to extend the runway and I heard it is moving with the regular process of the government. But as of now, the extension is not yet necessary. We're just a regional airport. We just cater to smaller planes. It does not matter. When we say smaller planes, it does not mean that one cannot fly to Hong Kong, Korea and other countries. We may not accommodate 747 planes but for sure we can accommodate Airbus," he said.

There are supposedly 10 flights that were chartered by the Korean golfers and only three were accommodated.

"Another 10 flights are scheduled for June and July and we will be ready for that," Benitez assured.

Meanwhile, senatorial candidate Grace Poe said she wants to delve into the concerns regarding the Bacolod Silay Airport.

"Is it expensive to send immigration officials here? There are many Negrenses who can be trained for immigration work," she said.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 15, 2013.

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