THE DEPARTMENT of Transportation (DoTr) and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) have officially opened to commercial flights San Vicente Airport (SVA) in northern Palawan Thursday.
In a statement, the DoTr said the P62.7-million airport’s passenger terminal building can accommodate up to 150 passengers at any given time, bigger than the typical capacity of a community airport, which is 50 persons.
Attractions in San Vicente, which is between Puerto Princesa and El Nido on the South China Sea coast, include a 14-kilometer white-sand beach said to be the longest in the Philippines.
“Then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announced the construction of a new airport in San Vicente (in 2006) to jump-start tourism development not only in San Vicente, but in other parts of Northern Palawan,” DoTr said in a statement.
In June 2017, the airport was opened to light aircraft. Chartered flights were eventually launched in August that year.
“Over the years, funding was allocated for the construction of the airport, along with enhancement of facilities and concreting of various areas in preparation for SVA’s commercial operations,” DoTr added.
The inauguration ceremony at SVA was led by Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade, CAAP Director General Jim C. Sydiongco, Finance Undersecretary Garry V. de Guzman and Palawan Governor Jose C. Alvarez.
“There is nothing more basic at stake than the future of Palawan to play on a global stage of tourism. If the province can figure out how to invest in its future, all Palaweños will prosper through education, improved quality of life, and jobs. And, the generations to come will see and benefit from all of these beautiful things we’ve done in our lifetime,” Mr. Alvarez was quoted as saying. — Denise A. Valdez