Home » Ports/Terminals, Press Releases » SBMA strikes deal with Asian aviation group to develop Subic airport

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) on the further development of Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) for business aviation.

SBMA chair and administrator Atty. Wilma Eisma said the agreement was signed during the Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition 2018 last April 17 in Shanghai, China.

Under the MOU, AsBAA will help develop the infrastructure at SBIA, as well as assist in the operations of the airport, while offering business aviation services in the Philippines through Subic.

AsBAA Philippine Chapter chairman Benjamin Lopez said group “will support and advise on the initial design and ongoing operation of the SBIA to bring about an immediate and reliable facility that regional business aviation and general aviation operators can access as another option to operate from in the Philippines.”

Lopez, who is also the president of Inaec Aviation Corp., said the country’s focus on infrastructure development, including in the aviation sector, in a bid to help decongest Manila is most welcome.

“Plans have long been discussed and now is the time for action. We are delighted to assist the authorities in advising on these vital enhancements to Philippine aviation infrastructure,” he added.

Launched in September 2017, the AsBAA Philippine chapter is the newest addition to the regional committees of AsBAA, a non-profit association representing business and general aviation entities based in Asia and around the world.

The Philippine chapter started in 2018 with a site visit and investment trip to Manila, Clark and Subic airports by a delegation of AsBAA members who met with Philippine regulators, airport operators, and aviation stakeholders.

Last January 27, AsBAA president Max Motschmann led an ocular inspection of SBIA to determine the business potential of the area.

The MOU for SBIA is the second agreement to be signed by the association this year geared toward helping develop airport infrastructure in Southeast Asia. The first agreement was with Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad.

Eisma said that she wants to make SBIA a business aviation airport and to prepare it as well for general aviation; maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services; and charter flights.

Earlier, Eisma told PortCalls SBMA would be spending around P2 billion from this year to 2019 to rehabilitate Subic’s airport and “[bring] it back to tiptop shape.”

The budget would be used to purchase the instrument landing system, radars, and equipment that were lost when the previous administration proposed to shut down the airport.

Eisma said they are positioning Subic airport as a sister air hub of CRK—the former to service logistics requirements, chartered flights, and corporate jets, and the latter to handle commercial flights.

She clarified that Subic airport will not be competing with CRK, which is strategically situated “as an airport of choice,” as SBIA will not focus on passenger operations, though SBMA will also welcome it if Subic gets one or two commercial flights.

“We can get spillover from neighboring airports like Clark, but I would rather court general aviation and business aviation heavily and have a niche for them to attract tourists with curated experiences,” Eisma added.

Asked if there is demand for Subic airport services from the target customers, Eisma said that “we will make demand for it.”

AsBAA members include major operators, aircraft manufacturers, aviation service providers, and finance and insurance providers. Through AsBAA, members obtain support for operational challenges and in turn, also support the greater advancement and development of the business and general aviation industry in Asia.

Image courtesy of IndypendenZ at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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