The municipality of San Vicente in northern Palawan has opened its newly-constructed regional airport to receive non-commercial and commercial aviation aircraft flights, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
Commercial flights for large aircraft, CAAP chief Percival Malonecio said Tuesday, will only begin after the regional airport project is finally completed maybe late 2017.
“Open for aviation aircraft only for now,” said Malonecio as it is still on “visual approach.”
A visual approach is an approach to a runway at an airport conducted under instrument flight rules (IFR) but where the pilot proceeds by visual reference and clear of clouds to the airport.
With a runway that is 1,612 meters long, which will be extended 300 meters more to complete an airport with a 1.9 kilometer runway, the San Vicente Airport is expected to boost the tourism industry in the emerging northern provincial town that is known for lengthy captivating white sand beaches and opulent first-growth and ancillary forests.
In earlier interviews, San Vicente municipal administrator James Inawasan said Mayor Carmela “Pie” Alvarez and the local government were already in talks with major airline companies for the possibility of opening flights to bring tourists to their town.
Designated as a Flagship Tourism Enterprise Zone by the Department of Tourism (DOT), Inawasan said it can increase tourism arrivals in San Vicente which is already steadily increasing by more or less 30 percent since 2015.
On June 22, the airport was completed with a newly-built passenger terminal and a two-kilometer concrete runway.
It is a Php62.7-million passenger terminal airport that also has a fire station building, and an elevated 2,500-US-gallon (9,500 L) water tank facility.
The regional airport is located in Barangay Poblacion, San Vicente, west of the former Inandeng Airstrip.
The airport was constructed under a public-private partnership (PPP).
San Vicente is located in the north-western side of the main island of Palawan and is 186 kilometres (116 mi) from Puerto Princesa City. It occupies a total land area of 146,294 hectares (361,500 acres).
The town is now gaining world attention and as a center of interest for tourism as it offers a diverse range of attractions for nature lovers and outdoor adventurers. (Celeste Anna R. Formoso/PNA)