Airport authority revived

Surigao Sur solon wants corporate body to manage Davao aerodrome
A MINDANAO representative revived the campaign to create an authority to manage Davao City’s international airport.

Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, a member of the House committee on transportation, said the Francisco Bangoy International Airport (FBIA), in Davao City would drastically improve if handled by a devoted public corporate entity.

“Mindanao’s international gateway deserves its own corporate body that can truly concentrate in running an airport with world-class facilities, superior passenger and cargo services, and highly improved safety and security based on the best aviation standards,”  Pimentel said.

At present, the FBIA is still being operated by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), while the country’s gateways in Luzon and Visayas have long been under the management and supervision of the Manila International Airport Authority and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority, respectively.

“We are absolutely convinced that a dedicated authority for the FIBA will enable the whole of Mindanao to take full economic advantage of a highly efficient international airport,” Pimentel, also a member of the House committee on Mindanao affairs, said.

The bill seeking to establish the Davao International Airport Authority (DIAA) to administer and operate the FBIA has been awaiting approval since the 16th Congress.

The measure has been revived in the 17th Congress by Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri and Deputy Speaker and Davao City Rep. Mylene Garcia-Albano.

In November last year, House Bill 2002 was approved that would create the Davao International Airport Authority (DIAA), which will operate and manage FBIA.

Garcia-Albano explained that the DIAA will concentrate on drafting policies and programs to convert FBIA as a “first-class international airport.”

Pimentel said the DIAA will relieve the CAAP of the pressure of running the country’s third busiest airport.

“We have to allow the CAAP to focus on its regulatory mission, especially now that we have to protect a rapidly growing number of planes and passengers in-flight at any given time owing to the air travel boom,” Pimentel said.

The CAAP is the national agency mandated to advance and regulate the country’s civil aviation, including critical aspects of safe and sound air travel such aircraft airworthiness, the licensing of pilots and maintenance engineers, the enforcement of air traffic control standards, and aircraft accident investigation.

As proposed, the DIAA shall be a public corporate body governed by an 11-member board of directors, to include a general manager; four members from the private sector who are residents of Davao City or the Province of Davao, all to be appointed by the President for a four-year term; and the governor of the Province of Davao or his authorized representative.

The Secretaries of the Departments of Transportation, Finance, Tourism and Justice, or their designated Undersecretaries or Assistant Secretaries, shall also serve as ex-office board members, along with the Assistant Secretary of the Air Transportation Office.