OFW repatriation flights bring Subic to life as a global gateway

GLOBAL GATEWAY. The use of Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) as another entry point for the government’s OFW repatriation program since July of this year has resulted in an increase in international aircraft and passenger movements, as well as improved airport revenues. In the third quarter of 2021 alone, OFW flights brought Subic Airport PHP 1.6 million in direct revenue, as well as PHP 218.7 million in revenue for Subic hotels. (File photo by SBIA)

SUBIC BAY FREE PORT – Philippine Airlines flights bringing home Filipino Overseas Workers (OFW) stranded overseas due to the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic donated to Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) a new lease of life as a global gateway.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Trustee Wilma T. Eisma said on Wednesday that the use of Subic as an alternative port of entry for the government’s OFW repatriation program since July this year has resulted in increased international movements of aircraft and passengers, as well as improved airport revenues.

In the third quarter of 2021 alone, Eisma said OFW flights provided Subic Airport with PHP 1.6 million in direct revenue, as well as PHP 218.7 million in revenue for hotels in Subic.

“But aside from the impact on revenues, we are proving here that Subic can be a global gateway and that is what is most important from a strategic point of view,” she said in a statement. .

“We are continuing the airport rehabilitation program that we started three years ago, and successful OFW flights now indicate that we have made substantial progress in modernizing SBIA facilities and equipment,” a- she added.

Among the upgrades completed were new Very High Frequency Doppler Omnidirectional Distance Measuring Equipment (DVOR / DME), Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS), Area Navigation Approach (RNAV), and a new system. air-ground communication system for traffic control.

Eisma said the increase in aircraft and passenger movements, as well as airport revenues here, defied the odds at a time when international passenger air traffic was down 60% and airport revenues were down 60%. 66% due to the pandemic.

According to the SBMA Port Operations Group report, aircraft movements at Subic airport in the third quarter of 2021 increased to 17,756, up 25% from the 14,220 recorded in the third quarter of the year. last year.

While most movements were those of domestic aircraft, a total of 55 international flights landed in July, August and September.

These also led to an increase in international passenger movements, from just 137 in the second quarter of 2021 to 5,800 in the third quarter.

“The increase in international passenger movements of 4,134% has been attributed to the repatriation of OFWs and the return of Filipinos Overseas (ROF),” said Ronnie Yambao, SBMA’s senior deputy administrator for the operations group. .

Yambao added that in the same period, Subic Airport recorded an actual turnover of PHP 62.15 million, exceeding its turnover target of PHP 49.52 million of 126%.

Third-quarter income was also 32 percent higher than the same period last year.

Airport revenues were broken down into PHP 40.48 million for leases, PHP 21.62 million for airport fees and PHP 48,672 million for fees.

Since July of this year, when Subic became an alternate port for OFW repatriation, a total of 27 OFW flights have been routed to Subic by Philippine Airlines, apart from nine which were diverted to Clark Airport in bad weather.

SBMA Airport Manager Zharrex Santos said that under the OFW program, SBIA handled a total of 9,159 international passengers, including 8,455 OFW land and 421 OFW at sea, as well as 274 passengers. Filipino and nine non-OFW foreign passengers.

Santos said the last PAL flight that brought OFWs landed here in Subic on Tuesday, with 299 passengers from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (ANP)

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