SBMA seeks airfreight, MRO business for Subic airport

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  • Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority is looking to welcome airfreight as well as maintenance, repair and overhaul operations at Subic Bay International Airport
  • SBMA is inviting airfreight logistics businesses to establish hubs at the Freeport
  • SBMA sees the rise in demand for airfreight services with the growth of e-commerce
  • The agency is also pushing for MRO operations and is implementing a Corporate Jet Maintenance Bubble
  • SBMA has been rehabilitating SBIA for the past three years
  • A P91.3-million package consisting of 12 projects is aimed at upgrading equipment and improving airport facilities

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is looking to welcome airfreight as well as maintenance, repair and overhaul operations at Subic Bay International Airport.

SBMA senior deputy administrator for operations Ronnie Yambao, in a text message to PortCalls, said the agency has an ongoing initiative to invite airfreight logistics businesses to develop hubs in Subic Bay Freeport.

Yambao noted moving goods by air is “becoming the best option” due to high growth in e-commerce.

Moreover, SBIA is open to MRO operations and is currently implementing a Corporate Jet Maintenance Bubble (CJMB).

Launched in February, the CJMB is a business jet maintenance hub that enables business jets in Asia Pacific to come to Subic for maintenance works. The hub has less restrictions imposed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

SBMA has been marketing SBIA as an MRO hub for business aviation since 2019 following the opening of an MRO service facility at the airport.

In the past three years it has been rehabilitating SBIA. This year it is implementing a P91.3-million package consisting of 12 projects to upgrade equipment and improve airport facilities.

Among the completed upgrades were a new Doppler very high frequency omnidirectional range distance measuring equipment, an automated weather observation system, an area navigation approach, and new air-ground communication system for air traffic control.

With bigger aircraft now being manufactured, Yambao said SBMA is also “seriously considering to expand our runway from 2.7 km to 3.2 km.”

In July this year, SBIA handled its first commercial flight since 2011 when Philippine Airlines (PAL) redirected an aircraft carrying returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW).

SBMA in an earlier statement said SBIA received “a new lease on life as a global gateway” after it became an alternative port of entry for the government’s repatriation program for OFWs, which started last July.

Since July this year, a total of 27 OFW flights have been flown to Subic by PAL, aside from the nine that were diverted to Clark Airport because of bad weather.

According to a report from the SBMA Port Operations Group, aircraft movements at SBIA in the third quarter of 2021 increased to 17,756–or by as much as 25%—compared to the 14,220 recorded in the third quarter of last year.

While most movements were those by domestic aircraft, a total of 55 international flights landed in July, August and September. These also resulted in increased movement of international passengers, from just 137 in the second quarter of 2021 to 5,800 in the third quarter.

For the same period, SBIA posted revenues of P62.15 million, surpassing its revenue target of P49.52 million by 126%. The third-quarter income was also 32% higher than that recorded in the same period last year. – Roumina Pablo