Traders urge gov’t anew: Establish airport authority

The business sector has renewed its call for the government to approve the proposed local agency that will manage the Davao International Airport.

Arturo M. Milan, president of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that an airport authority must be established especially because the city and its environs have started attracting visitors.

“Look at Cebu, it has truly become a hub (of airlines) and that airlines have continued to expand their services using the airport because there is a body whose sole function is to manage it,” Milan told TIMES.

Allowing an airport authority to run the Davao International Airport, also known as the Francisco Bangoy International Airport, the body will provide a direction on how to promote it as well as come up with program that will maximize its utilization.

He added that by allowing an independent authority to operate the airport, there will now be a body that can focus in the development of programs not only designed to grow its services, but also enhance it.

He said that as the stakeholders of the tourism industry have been promoting the city to tourists, there is also a need for the tourism facilities, the airport included, to be enhanced and that this can be ultimately done by coming up with an independent body.

“We must not wait for the tourists to come. We must immediately enhance our facilities so that when they come, they will appreciate what we have done,” Milan added, pointing out that this is especially necessary now that the one on top of the government, President Rodrigo R. Duterte, is from the city.

On the possibility of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) losing income from the airport, Milan added that the agency will be able to focus on promoting the other airports under its responsibility to be able to start earning from these facilities.

“It (CAAP) will have a lesser burden and it can come up with better programs to promote the airports under it,” he added.

Local officials and business leaders have been pushing for the creation of an airport authority that will supervise the airport operations, but the proposed bill filed with Congress has been put in the backburner.

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