LOCAL carriers Philippine Airlines, Inc. (PAL) and Philippines AirAsia, Inc. (AirAsia Philippines) said the administration’s plan to upgrade and build new international airports, which President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. highlighted in his first address to the nation on Monday, will open up new growth opportunities for the industry.

“The construction of new international airports will help boost tourism targets, generate economic growth, and create employment opportunities in the aviation, travel, and tourism industries,” PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Stanley K. Ng said in a statement.

“New access roads will help these economic benefits to flow into local communities. As industry stakeholders, we welcome and support these plans announced by President Marcos in his State of the Nation Address,” he added.

Mr. Marcos said his administration aims to boost the country’s tourism industry.

“We will first and foremost make basic developments such as road improvements for easier access to tourism spots. We will also upgrade our airports and create more international airports to help decongest the bottleneck at the Manila airport,” he added.

The government, he also said, will make it more convenient for travelers to go around the country, even to remote areas to help promote undiscovered tourist spots.

“This program will be led by the Department of Tourism together with the Department of Public Works and Highways,” the President said.

A new international airport is being built in Bulacan, while the Cavite province is currently working to start the planned Sangley airport.

AirAsia Philippines said it supports the administration’s vision for a “better, reliable and safe air transport through infrastructural development.”

“This will help airlines such as AirAsia remain aggressive and competitive in the domestic and international air travel and cargo industry as we serve a greater number of Filipino travelers and overseas Filipino workers,” it said in a statement.

AirAsia will support the vision by “adhering to the highest standards of safety in all of its flights, democratizing air travel and experience through various promo offerings in the airasia Super App, and facilitating fleet and route expansion to address (demand),” the airline added.

Department of Transportation (DoTr) Secretary Jaime J. Bautista said he will prioritize the enhancements of various airports and elevate them to global standards.

“We will build upon the dozens of aviation-related projects completed in the past administration and identify areas for technical upgrade to allow them to enhance their operational capabilities,” he said in a statement.

“The President’s order to the DoTr is clear — it’s full speed ahead for our transport projects,” he added. — Arjay L. Balinbin