The expansion of the Iloilo Airport in Cabatuan, Iloilo has been requested by Mayor Jerry P. Treñas to be included in the national government’s list of priority projects. The mayor pointed out that the airport is reaching its capacity, and an expansion would not only accommodate the increasing number of passengers but would also spur more job opportunities and support the growth of the city’s economy.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Investment Programming Group was tasked with the planning and programming, coordinating, and implementing, among others, the promotion, development, and regulation of safe, efficient, and reliable transportation services and systems in the country, including air transport facilities. The NEDA Investment Programming Group referred the mayor’s request to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) undersecretary Timothy John R. Batan, as the proposed expansion of the Iloilo Airport project is not included in DOTr’s proposed infrastructure projects for inclusion in the Public Investment Program (PIP) 2023-2028 and the Three Year-Rolling Infrastructure Program (TRIP) 2024-2026.
NEDA officer-in-charge Arecio A. Casing Jr. believes that the proposed expansion of the Iloilo Airport under a public-private partnership (PPP) scheme is a good move. He cited Mactan-Cebu International Airport as an example of a privatized airport that has seen significant improvements. The Godofredo P. Ramos Airport, also known as the Caticlan Airport in Aklan, is another airport that caters to international flights and recently began having flights to and from Taipei, Taiwan.
Transportation secretary Jaime Bautista announced in October 2022 that the Iloilo Airport was set to undergo an upgrade under a PPP scheme and expected the completion of the airport projects in the provinces by 2023 as part of efforts to boost travel and tourism in the country. The Iloilo Airport is situated on 188 hectares of land covering barangays Tabucan, Tiring, Gaub, Duyan-Duyan, and Manguna in Cabatuan.
CAAP-Iloilo terminal supervisor Arthur Parreño said that improvements and expansions are “long overdue.” The main passenger terminal, designed to accommodate only 400 to 450 passengers, should be expanded, according to Parreño. He added that the airport now caters to 20 flights (both departure and arrival) a day, and every flight has about 170 to 200 passengers. Another airport area that needs expansion is the runway, said Parreño, especially now that three airlines – Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia – have resumed their usual number of flights.
The proposed expansion of the Iloilo Airport is seen as a crucial step in supporting the growth of the city’s economy and boosting travel and tourism in the country. The government’s response to Mayor Treñas’ request and the details of the planned expansion will be closely monitored by the public, particularly those in the tourism industry and frequent travelers to and from Iloilo.