Higher terminal fee at GenSan airport mulled

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/03 July) – Airport authorities are planning to raise the terminal fee at the city airport here to P150 to cope with mounting operational costs and development requirements.
Allan Punay, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) manager here, said they have asked the CAAP board to increase the current P40 terminal fee per departing passenger to allow the airport to sustain its own operations and fund the improvement of its facilities.

“The P40 terminal fee has not increased for the last 15 years so we deem it proper to make the necessary adjustments now,” he said in an interview over a local television station.

Punay said the increase in terminal fee will help the airport management address the needed developments and improvements at the facility, among them its unstable air-conditioning system.

The city airport’s main terminal, which opened in 1996, underwent major repairs and improvements last year but the project was not completed due to problems with its contractor.
Based on CAAP’s records, the city airport posted a total income of around P25 million last year based on its terminal fee collections and other charges levied to airline companies and its tenant stores.
But the airport’s total operational expenses last year reached around P28 million, making its operations partly subsidized by the agency.
The city airport, which is classified by CAAP as an alternate international airport, mainly serves the greater area of Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region.
Leading domestic carrier Cebu Pacific presently maintains three regular passenger and cargo flights daily from this city to Manila and another daily flight to Cebu.
Philippine Airlines has one regular daily flight from this city to Manila while AirPhil Express offers daily regular flights to Manila and Cebu.
Lawyer Rodrigo Artuz, CAAP corporate executive, urged local stakeholders to support the proposed increase in terminal fees saying it is essential for the required upgrading of the airport’s facilities.
“If we have to upgrade the facilities for better safety and services of the airport, we should support the increase of terminal fees,” he said in a recent public consultation here.
Artuz pointed out that the fee increase will later translate to further developments for the city airport.
Punay earlier said the proposed terminal fee increase will undergo another round of public consultations later this month before it would be elevated to the CAAP board for action.
The official said they’re hoping that the proposed fee increase will be approved before the end of the year.
Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio said the local government is presently studying CAAP’s proposed terminal fee increase for the city airport.
She said they are determining whether the fee increase is necessary at this time and if there are other alternatives for it.
“This is still a proposal so I think there would be still be more consultations and negotiations over it will be finalized by CAAP,” she said. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)