By: Francis Allan L. Angelo
BUSINESS groups in the city and province of Iloilo are pushing for the postponement of the proposed increase in airport terminal fees.
Former tourism Narzalina Lim, president of the Iloilo Economic Development Foundation (Iled), said the proposal of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) is badly timed with the looming international airports from Iloilo to Hong Kong and other areas.
The terminal fee hike was discussed during the general membership meeting of Iled which also celebrated its 5th anniversary Saturday at Smallville 21 Hotel.
Iled is an umbrella group of business organizations which aims to promote the city and province of Iloilo as an investment hub.
Lim said CAAP plans to increase terminal fees at the Iloilo airport terminal to P750 for international passengers. A fee of P200 is currently collected from outgoing domestic passengers.
Lea Lara, executive director of the Iloilo Business Club, said the hike might stymie the initiatives of local governments and the private sector to bring in international flights in Iloilo and other parts of Western Visayas.
“The hike comes at a time when international flights in Iloilo are about to start by end of this year. And this might affect our market. What we are pushing is to postpone the increase maybe by at least six months while we pave the way for international flights,” Lara.
CAAP said it will increase “obsolete” terminal fees to keep up with improvements in the airport amenities.
A total of 82 domestic airports that are under CAAP. Only the three terminals of Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark, Mactan-Cebu International Airport, and Subic Bay International Airport are not under the CAAP.
In Panay, the terminal fee hike will affect Iloilo, Kalibo, Bacolod, Roxas and Antique with increase up to P700 for international flights and P200 for domestic flights.
The Caticlan and Iloilo airports are now charging new rates of P200 for domestic passengers. Airports in Antique, Roxas City and Kalibo have yet to increase their airport terminal fees of P40 per passenger.