The Philippine island of Palawan is now able to welcome more visitors, following the expansion of Puerto Princesa International Airport – the island’s main gateway.
Opened on 4 May 2017, the hub now features an extended 2,600-metre-long runway capable of handling twin-aisle aircraft, plus a larger terminal building covering 13,000m². There is also a new car park, cargo building, apron, taxiways, aircraft parking bays and navigation facilities.
The PHP4.4 billion (US$88 million) upgrade will increase the airport’s capacity to approximately 1.9 million passengers per year.
Demand for flights to Palawan has increased in recent years and Puerto Princesa International Airport is now served by five carriers: Air Juan, Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, PAL Express and AirAsia Philippines. In 2016, the airport welcomed its first international flight when Philippine Airlines launched a new direct service to Taipei.
Cebu Pacific, which connects the Palawan hub with Cebu, Iloilo, Manila, welcomed the creation of a “world class airport in Puerto Princesa”.
“This is expected to boost trade and tourism even more in the Palawan region. We are positive that with this expansion, we will be able to help achieve the government’s goal of increasing tourist arrivals to Palawan. With the new airport able to handle international flights, it now makes Puerto Princesa attractive for direct connections to and from key foreign tourist markets,” said Atty JR Mantaring, Cebu Pacific’s vice president for corporate affairs.
The airstrip at Puerto Princesa was originally created in World War II and it later served as a US air force base. It opened as a commercial airport in the 1980s.
Attracting more than one million visitors per year, Palawan is home to numerous tourist attractions including tropical beaches, scuba diving and snorkelling sites, and the UNESCO-listed Puerto Princesa Underground River.