Mayor, senator urge faster upgrades at Iloilo Airport

Apart from its air conditioning, the Iloilo airport’s escalator to the pre-departure area also needs repairs. (Francis Allan Angelo photo)

By Joseph Bernard A. Marzan

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas and Senator Grace Poe on Monday voiced concerns over persistent facility issues at the Iloilo International Airport and called for accelerated maintenance and improvement efforts by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

During his regular press conference, Treñas reiterated his previous statements about the airport’s facilities, including an escalator linking the check-in and pre-departure areas, as well as the cooling system, which he addressed in a statement issued on Sunday, April 30.

On April 27, Treñas disclosed a message from DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista stating that the airport’s three chiller units were sufficient under normal conditions but were struggling due to the current El Niño-induced heat.

Bautista also informed him that three additional chillers were scheduled for delivery in July, and in the interim, he had been authorized to procure portable air coolers.

Regarding the escalator, Bautista indicated that a third-party service might be engaged for repairs.

Treñas highlighted the critical role of the airport in shaping visitors’ first impressions of Iloilo, especially important given the increased tourist arrivals for Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Exhibitions (MICE) events.

“When you arrive in the city, the first impression counts. If you are a first-time visitor to Iloilo, the first thing you encounter is the airport. The escalator is not working, and for me, as a senior citizen, it would be hard to carry my baggage,” he explained.

Senator Poe, chair of the Senate’s Public Services committee, commented on the situation at both the Iloilo Airport and Metro Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3, which is also undergoing maintenance.

“The phrase ‘warm welcome’ has taken a literal meaning at these airports,” she said.

Poe expressed interest in investigating the P190.56 million allocated for facility improvements at Iloilo Airport under Republic Act No. 11975 (General Appropriations Act of 2024).

“We want to find out how the P190 million allocated in the 2024 budget is being utilized for the Iloilo airport’s repairs and maintenance. We fought hard for the budget during deliberations and we want to ensure its benefits are felt by the public,” she said.

“As the hot weather continues, we urge all the country’s airports to enhance maintenance of air conditioning and electrical systems to prevent breakdowns and accidents. We aim to make Iloilo airport a world-class facility, offering comfort, convenience, and cutting-edge services to passengers,” Poe added.

Daily Guardian has reached out to Airport Manager Manuela Luisa Palma for comment, but there has been no response as of this writing.


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