August 21, 2009
"We are happy to be part of the development of this island province," said Kenney, who was the guest of honor on the inauguration of the extended runway.
Abdelnooh K. Hadjirul, president of the Tawi-Tawi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the airport upgrade will give Tawi-Tawi’s emerging aquaculture and eco-tourism industries a competitive advantage.
“There is great potential in eco-tourism here, especially if air links to neighboring countries are established,” said Abdelnooh Hajirul, president of the Tawi-Tawi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
On the same tone, Undersecretary Virgilio Leyretana, Sr., chairman of the Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo) is optimistic of its growth potential. Mr. Leyretana oversees the implementation of the GEM Program.
“These improvements will ensure safer airport operations and higher-capacity air linkages as well as open up more trade, tourism and investment opportunities in the region.” he said.
Meanwhile Philippine Airlines’ Flight Technical Division Manager Selino S. Jalalon has inspected the facilities at Sanga-Sanga airport to update flight plans and landing and take-off procedure of the airline when they start operating at the airport.
At the same time, Cebu Pacific manifested its intention to fly the route with its ATR 72-500 aircraft and possibly preempting PAL on a thrice a week service when new aircraft arrives to join their fleet. Lance Gokongwei, Cebu Pacific CEO, said that 2 ATR turbo prop planes are expected to join their fleet this year.
Cebu Pacific is preparing a hub in Zamboanga for services to Tawi-Tawi, Jolo, Cotabato, Cagayan de Oro, Sandakan, and Kota Kinabalu for connections to Cebu, Davao and Manila.
Zest Air which previously operated at the airport using YS-11 aircraft has also plans to re-introduce Zamboanga as its Mindanao hub for destinations such as Jolo, Tawi-Tawi, and Sandakan.
Presently, Seair is the only airline that serves Tawi-Tawi airport utilizing 19-seater LET plane.