By John Noel E. Herrera
Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas requested the resumption of international flights at Iloilo Airport in Cabatuan town.
Treñas, on Tuesday, Feb 28, 2023, sent a letter to Cebu Pacific Air asking that it direct flights to and from Singapore and Hong Kong.
Cebu Pacific used to have direct flights to Singapore and Hong Kong from Iloilo and vice versa, but these were suspended in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his letter addressed to CebuPac Iloilo Ground Operations Department airport performance manager Kirk Warren E. Patricio, Treñas emphasized that he was prompted to write due to the “influx of requests from overseas Filipino workers and constituents with outbound flights to Singapore and Hong Kong.”
The mayor stressed that their travel needs are “unmet caused by long queues at immigration and exorbitant travel alongside foreign employment offers to Filipinos.”
“While tourism continues to be one of the sectors hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic landscape here in Iloilo City perceives a continuing boom to the Asia-Pacific region. It would seemingly show that the demand for travel has not dampened consumers looking to make up for time lost to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Treñas added.
Daily Guardian also reached out to Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr., asking if he would send a similar letter to airline companies, and support the request of Treñas for the resumption of international flights, but he has not responded as of the writing.
But in his previous press conference, Defensor noted that despite the downtrend in COVID-19 cases and the provincial government’s readiness and preparedness for the resumption of international flights, there are still no demands or requests from airlines for direct flights to and from Singapore and Hong Kong.
“Not yet and they have not asked. We are ready for the (resumption of flights), ang importante lang nga may demand. Sa aton wala na ‘ya sang prohibition, waay na and we want the flights to increase now,” Defensor said.
The governor also revealed that one airline company earlier expressed interest in resuming international flights, but it withdrew following the first confirmed monkeypox case in the province.
“There’s no demand. Nag-simulation na kita and we are ready, but I think, ang request, there’s one airline that requested, but hindi anay sila magdayon, so hindi siya mag-resume,” he said.
Meanwhile, even though the resumption of international flights at the Iloilo Airport is not yet certain, Cebu Pacific earlier announced that they will resume its domestic flight from Iloilo to Clark starting April 21, 2023, which would make Iloilo more accessible for tourists coming from northern Luzon and the National Capital Region (NCR).