In a bid to bolster tourist arrivals in the post-pandemic Cebu, the provincial government has embarked on aggressive airport development initiatives, placing two island airport projects on the priority agenda.
After inspecting the Bantayan Airport in Sta. Fe town on Bantayan Island, north of Cebu province for further development on Wednesday, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said they are now eyeing the expansion of the Camotes Island Airport.
Garcia said the initiatives came after Senator Robin Padilla expressed support for the project and pledged funding in the next budget year.
Padilla and Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco joined the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo in the Camotes group of islands organized by the Provincial Tourism Office last month and inspected the airport vicinity.
“It will greatly boost tourist arrivals and economic activities in Camotes island group. Camotes is known for beautiful beaches and other exciting destinations,” she said.
Once fully operational, the airport, which sits on a province-owned lot that has a 1.8-kilometer airstrip, will be able to accommodate small private planes that can carry about 70 to 80 passengers at a time. It will also cut travel time. Boat rides usually take two to three hours from Cebu City to Camotes island.
Its opening coincides with the effort of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to boost land transport, with the inclusion in the province-wide Local Public Transport Route Plan (LPTRP) modern buses that will ply the Cebu City-Camotes route, via the soon-to-be-opened Liloan port.
In July 2021, the Department of Budget and Management released to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) PHP265 million in funding for the Camotes Island airport establishment.
In 2020, Garcia and Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority general manager Julius Neri Jr. led other officials in launching the Mactan-Sta. Fe flight servicing at the Bantayan airport.
The Bantayan airport has a PHP154-million runway expansion fund from the Duterte administration. (PNA)