29 May 2012

Redeveloped Subic airport to raise P150B investments

Redeveloping the Subic Airport site into a family-oriented tourism facility will raise investments of over P150 billion, according to the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

Moe Villamor, chief of staff of SBMA administrator Robert Garcia, in a presentation before government agencies about the Philippine Investment Promotion Plan, said the SBMA is pushing for the redevelopment of the 200-hectare property which had been largely unused after the pullout of Federal Express in February 2009.

SBMA wants the airport redeveloped since Clark, just 30 minutes away, is now being promoted as the country’s premier airport.

Tourism is the emerging industry in Subic, according to Villamor.

Villamor said the project is still under consideration of the Office of the President and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

“We have some indicative plans on what we believe should be the layout. We have our own environmental impact study,” he said.

He added: “We are willing to coordinate with the appropriate agencies. But if the President says there is some other use for it, or if he says to maintain the facility, we are going to back off.”

Villamor said following the withdrawal of the FedEx Asia Pacific hub – which moved to Guangzhou in China – the Subic airport is hardly being used, mostly serving general aviation and flight training, and is not making as much money.

There are about 22 locators at the airport.

FedEx operated its AsiaOne hub in Subic for 13 years.

SBMA had been looking for a more viable use for the airport since 2010 as it had to shoulder up to P250 million annually to have the airport running, of which P150 million went to debt service and another P100 million to maintenance costs.

To break even, the SBMA had said in the past, the airport should be able to mount 12 to 15 flights a day.

The airport served as a secondary airport and the main diversion airport of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. This airport used to be the Naval Air Station Cubi Point of the United States Navy. .(Malaya Business Insight)