Subic airport sees more aircraft arrivals due to returning overseas workers

Overseas Filipino workers from Abu Dhabi arrive at the Subic Bay International Airport on Oct 26, via a Philippine Airlines flight.- Courtesy of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT (Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network): The Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) saw an increase in aircraft movements in the third quarter of this year amid restricted flights due to travel restrictions, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) announced on Wednesday (Oct 27).

In a statement, Wilma Eisma, SBMA chair and administrator, said Philippine Airlines (PAL) flights carrying mostly repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFW) had provided the Subic airport at least P1.6 million in direct income and P218.7 million in income for Subic hotels that serve as quarantine facilities.

The SBIA has been tapped as an alternate port of entry for the government’s OFW Repatriation Programme since July this year.

“But aside from the impact on revenue, we’re proving here that Subic can be a global gateway and that’s what’s more important from a strategic point of view,” Eisma said.

She said the successful OFW flights indicate that SBMA had done substantial progress in upgrading SBIA facilities and equipment.

“We are continuing with the airport rehabilitation programme that we started three years ago,” Eisma said.

Based on a report from the SBMA Port Operations Group, aircraft movement at the SBIA in the third quarter of 2021 rose to 17,756, reflecting a 25-percent increase compared to the 14,220 recorded in the third quarter of last year.

Data also showed that 55 international flights landed in July, August, and September, resulting in increased movement of international passengers, from just 137 in the second quarter of 2021 to 5,800 in the third quarter.

Since July this year, 27 OFW flights have been flown to Subic by PAL.

Zharrex Santos, SBMA airport manager, said under the OFW program, the SBIA had handled 9,159 international passengers consisting of 8,455 land-based and 421 sea-based OFWs, as well as 274 Filipino and nine foreign non-OFW passengers.

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