The Duterte administration is studying a plan to revive the operation of Subic Bay International Airport, according to the chief of the Transportation Department.
“Subic Airport is a very good airport, but its equipment were no longer there. Maybe one possibility is to look into the revival of the airport and we are ready for that possibility,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said.
SBIA served as a secondary airport and used to be a main diversion airport of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. It was also used by Federal Express as a regional hub.
The airport terminal is a 200-hectare aviation facility, which can handle commercial or chartered aircraft operation, air cargo handling and warehousing, aircraft repair and maintenance and other general aviation businesses. It features a 2,700-meter runway and a 10,000-square-meter passenger terminal that can handle 700 passengers.
Federal Express stopped its operations in SBIA in 2009, after the courier giant moved its entire hub operations to Guangzhou, China.
Tugade said the government planned to build a dedicated rail system to connect Subic and Clark and promote the areas as modern logistic corridor.
He earlier said the government would bid out the expansion of Clark International Airport within the next 10 months through the public-private partnership scheme.
Clark International Airport Corp. operates and maintain the international gateway at the former US military airbase. The airport has an annual capacity of four million passengers.
Airlines operating in Clark include Qatar Airways, Cebu Pacific, Tigerair Air, Jin Air, Asiana Airlines, Dragon Air, Air Asia Berhad and Emirates Airlines.
These airlines mount flights to Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Macau, Pudong, Incheon, Doha, Dubai, Davao, Cebu and Kalibo.
Tugade also said the agency planned to build a rail system connecting Clark and Naia or Trinoma, using the right of way of North Luzon Expressway and Philippine National Railways.
Tugade said the department would finalize the proposal for submission to the National Economic and Development Authority within 90 days. The proposed rail system aims to promote Clark International Airport as an alternative international gateway to Naia which is now congested.
Japan International Cooperation Agency said Naia was expected to exceed its maximum handling capacity this year, when the airport would handle 37.78 million passengers. Its maximum handling capacity stands at 35 million passengers a year.