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05
Jul

Tugade: Subic airport to reopen in H1 of 2019

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Philippine Daily Inquirer

CAPAS, TARLAC—The government plans to start passenger operations for the Subic Bay International Airport by the first half of next year, Transport Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said Wednesday.

“We’re closely looking at making the Subic airport operational again,” Tugade said during the economic managers’ press briefing on the “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program at the site of the soon-to-rise National Government Administrative Center in New Clark City.

The revival of the airport at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone will complement development at the Clark Freeport Zone, as these two economic zones will be connected by a railway, Tugade said.

The transport chief said the planned reopening of the airport was in response to the request of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, the investment promotion agency that administers the free port.

To recall, the airport was abandoned by courier FedEx in 2009 after it relocated its Asian hub to China.

Tugade said the airport’s structure was still sound, but in terms of aviation safety standards, new airport equipment had to be acquired.

The Department of Transportation-attached Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines will fund the provision of navigation equipment, he said.

Operations will start by the first or second quarters of 2019, Tugade said.

Later asked by the Inquirer if the airport would cater to commercial or passenger operations, he said it would serve air passengers.

Last year, the SBMA said the upgrade of the equipment of Subic Bay International Airport would cost about $40 million.—BEN O. DE VERA