Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya has directed his planning team to evaluate the proposals of Bacolod Rep. Evelio “Bing” Leonardia that are intended to boost air travel to the city and has also assigned his legislative liaison staff to coordinate with the congressman’s office for the evaluation.
Leonardia and Abaya met Monday at the DOTC office in Manila on the solon’s proposals to extend the runway, expand the terminal of the Bacolod-Silay Airport, and to reopen the old airport in Bacolod.
“We used to have only six flights a day, now we have 17,” Leonardia told Abaya to justify his proposals. “As a major city of the Philippines, we also need to prepare the airport for the bigger planes used in international flights so we can get a share of the projected 10-million tourists by 2016,” he also said, in explaining the need to extend the runway.
On the old airport, Leonardia said it can be opened for PAL Express flights so the new one can be decongested. At the same time, this will give us an alternative just in case the new airport becomes unserviceable, he said, adding that the two airports can use the same control tower for safety and cost-efficiency.
Leonardia also said the Bacolod-Silay Airport has spaces for five gates, and there are only three at the moment. “In fact, if you look closely, we have gates 2, 3 and 4 only at present, so we should expand by opening gates 1 and 5,” he said.
He said there is really a need to expand the terminal because it already gets congested now, especially when at least two of the five airlines using it have simultaneous flights.
The Bacolod solon also asked Abaya to look into the policy of some airlines that do not use the tube for boarding passengers. “We spend billions to build a modern airport, yet some of our airlines continue with primitive boarding procedures,” he said.
Aside from the inconvenience, Leonardia also pointed out that having passengers use the stairs is dangerous, especially for senior citizens, the handicapped and pregnant women.*