Open skies policy to benefit country, says Davao dad
by RG Alama
Davao City (5 April) -- An open skies policy which is being mulled by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on the airports of Clark and Subic, which is being protested by the country’s carriers, will be favorable to the public, to the economy and also to these two international airports.
According to Davao City Councilor Peter Laviña, a long-time advocate of a pocket open sky policy particularly for Davao International Airport (DIA), Liberalizing Philippine skies will be favorable to the consumers, to the economy and also to the country’s international Airports.
Councilor Laviña said that with the entry of foreign carriers, the consumers can now have many choices of airlines with their array of services and also on more choices of direct flights to different destinations, thus having access to cheaper air travel.
He also said that foreign carriers would bring in more tourists, thus spurring economic growth and opportunities. “One tourist would bring in at least one job,” Laviña said.
He also said that open skies would also bring in more earnings for DIA which has a standing debt of at least P4 billion incurred during its construction.
Laviña said that without open skies, the public are carrying the burden of these debts with airport terminal fees, which he said is being planned to be raised to about P150 from the present amount of P40.
“The public who are using the airport are being made to carry DIA’s debt, that’s why we are opposing the increase,” the city councilor said.
He said that more airlines using the airport paying landing and airport fees will help offset and subsidize the debt.
Laviña also defended the open skies policy as he said that when the airline industry was liberalized in 1992, ending the Philippine Airlines (PAL) monopoly when many airlines came into being, PAL did not go into bankruptcy and instead grew same with other airlines like Cebu Pacific and Air Philippines.
Laviña has been lobbying for a pocket open skies policy particularly for the modern Davao International Airport which he deemed is underutilized considering its facilities.
He said that the country’s various airlines should be already be prepared by this eventuality as ASEAN would be adopting an open skies policy by 2008. (PIA XI) [top]