ILOILO City – The Iloilo Airport ranked 18th in the 2019 Sleeping In Airports’ “Best Airports in Asia” list, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) announced.
Only one other Philippine airport made it to the list – the Mactan Cebu International Airport which placed 16th.
Sleeping In Airports is a travellers’ guide and resource website (sleepinginairports.net). It conducts an annual survey asking travellers to rate airports worldwide based on their overall airport experience.
Travellers rank their experiences based on the following factors:
* comfort (gate seating, rest zone availability, etc.)
* services, facilities and things to do
* food options
* immigration / security
* customer service
* navigation and ease of transit
“We expect that more Philippine airports will be included (in the list) next year. The survey for the 2019 list was done until September. We have airports that were built just recently,” said CAAP spokesperson Eric Apolonio.
Classified as an international airport, the Iloilo Airport is the first airport in both Western Visayas and the island of Panay to be built to international standards, and it is also considered to be the primary gateway into the region. It opened to commercial traffic on June 14, 2007 with then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo inaugurating it.
“Top airports have a lot in common: plenty of seating, rest areas, a good amount of food options, helpful staff and efficient check-in, and security procedures. Some airports go above-and-beyond with perks like in-terminal movie theatres and gardens,” according to the sleepinginairports.net website.
The Iloilo Airport, located in Cabatuan, Iloilo, has a 13,700-square-meter main passenger terminal. It is divided into three levels: arrivals and baggage claim on the first floor, check-in on the second floor and departures on the third floor.
Designed to accommodate 1.2 million passengers a year over a decade ago, it is poised for expansion as it now serves 2.4 million passengers annually.
During a visit to the airport in May this year, Arroyo announced that CAAP secured the support of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to proceed with the expansion.
Getting the DILG onboard was a crucial step for the proposal to be forwarded to the National Economic and Development Authority, explained Arroyo.
“It is one step closer to bringing comfort, safety and convenience to one of the busiest airports in the country,” said Arroyo.
The current airport complex consists of a single runway, various administrative and maintenance buildings, waste-sorting and water-treatment facilities, a power-generating station, a cargo terminal, and a main passenger terminal.
Its location on the Tomas Confesor Highway, a major highway traversing Panay Island, makes the airport accessible from all parts of Iloilo and Panay by road, while its proximity to the currently defunct Panay Railways network could potentially link the airport to the rest of Panay by rail.
The Iloilo Airport has one primary 2,500-meter runway 45 meters wide. It can support wide-bodied aircraft such as the Airbus A330, Airbus A340, Airbus A350 XWB, Boeing 777(with reduced payload for the -300 series or -200 series), Boeing 767, Boeing 757, Antonov An-124 Ruslan, McDonnell Douglas MD-11and Boeing 787.
Runway lights and an Instrument Landing System were installed, making the airport capable of supporting low-visibility and night landings under any weather condition.
Three jet bridges protrude from the passenger terminal above a 48,000-square-meter apron, enabling the airport to handle up to six aircraft simultaneously.
According to Arroyo, the departments of Transportation, Labor, and Justice already signed the CAAP Board Resolution granting Original Proponent Status (OPS) to the unsolicited proponent for the Iloilo Airport expansion.
“I would like to extend my sincerest congratulations to CAAP for finally getting the green light to start the expansion of the airport,” said Arroyo.
CAAP, she said, may now proceed to subject the proposal to a Swiss Challenge [third parties would be allowed to make better offers to the unsolicited offer made by the original proponent; then the original proponent gets the right to counter-match any superior offers given by the third party]. The goal is to ensure that the government gets the best offer.
Meanwhile, Singapore’s Changi Airport topped the 2019 Sleeping In Airports’ 10 best airports (overall) as well as its list of top 20 best airports in Asia.
Other airports in the Asia list were Seoul Incheon Airport, Tokyo Narita Airport, Osaka Kansai Airport, Taipei Taoyuan Airport, Hong Kong Airport, Kuala Lumpur Airport, New Delhi Airport, Jakarta Airport, Tokyo Haneda Airport, Mumbai Airport, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangalore Airport, Ho Chi Minh City Tan Son Nhat Airport, Hyderabad Airport, Da Nang Airport, Islamabad Airport, and Kunming Airport. (With a report from the Philippine News Agency/PN)