BACOLOD CITY—Efforts to prepare Bacolod-Silay Airport for the arrival of international flights have started, as the bidding for the airport’s P20-billon expansion program is expected to commence in the coming months.
Nationalist People’s Coalition Rep. Evelio Leonardia of Bacolod City, senior vice chairman of the House Committee on Transportation, said that during his recent inspection at the airport, he saw that immigration booths have already been installed to process incoming and departing passengers on international flights.
The booths are part of the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) system that local officials in the area have been lobbying for, the lawmaker said.
“Since the CIQ is one of the things we can immediately do to encourage direct international flights, we’re doing it ahead of the expansion,” Leonardia said.
He pointed out that the CIQ system has been the concern of a South Korean group that wanted to schedule several direct flights to Bacolod.
Kim Hong-ki, in a letter to Leonardia in August, said they expected to have 23 direct flights to Bacolod from Incheon, starting December this year to March next year. At an average of 150 passengers per flight, the arrivals are expected to bring in an estimated 3,400 Korean tourists directly to Bacolod, Leonardia said.
During his inspection, Leonardia was accompanied by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines team, headed by Bacolod Silay airport chief Mecine Reyes.