San Fernando Airport Re-opens to Commercial traffic

SEAIR to fly April 14
by Julito G. Rada

March 27, 2010

The San Fernando Airport in La Union will resume domestic operations on April 14, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority said Thursday.

The airport has just completed a P500 million upgrading financed by the Poro Point Management Corp., a BCDA subsidiary.

For its inaugural flight using the newly refurbished airport, South East Asian Air flight DG0205 will leave the Manila Domestic Airport at 11:40 a.m. and is expected to arrive at the San Fernando Airport at 12:40 p.m. This would officially signal the resumption of domestic operations after the airport was closed in December 2007 to give way to the upgrading.

BCDA president and chief executive retired Gen. Narciso Abaya said that with the airport resuming operations, Poro Point becomes more attractive to investors and tourists.

“Increased investments and tourist spending will augur well for the economy of La Union,” he said.

PPMC president Felix Racadio said the upgrading project included the hill removal and leveling, runway widening, overlay of taxiway, fencing, construction of a new control tower, renovation of fire station, and excavation of ditches and channels.

“The upgrade meets the International Civil Aviation Organization standards and will now accommodate larger planes like the Boeing 737 and Airbus 320,” Racadio said.

For his part, PPMC executive vice president Anthony Manguiat said with the resumption of domestic operations, passenger as well as cargo traffic are expected to further increase and boost the economy of La Union and its neighboring provinces.

“The San Fernando Airport will complement the already existing international seaport, thus making Poro Point an ideal site for commerce and tourism,” Maguiat said.

PPMC vice president for airport operations Josefa Catherine Bada said the regular flights from Manila to San Fernando and back will be serviced by SEAIR every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The Manila-San Fernando flight takes some 60 minutes and passengers can now book online through www.flyseair.

She also said there are now 27 flying schools using the airport for their cross-country flights.

Meanwhile, Thunderbird Pilipinas Hotels and Resorts Inc. chief operating officer Fabio Moretti said the resumption of flights will bode well for the tourism industry in La Union, Baguio, Pangasinan and Ilocos. Of the P565 million allocated by the BCDA for the upgrade of the San Fernando Airport, TPHRI contributed P55 million.

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