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Subic airport reopens for commercial operations

July 9, 2021 Willy M. Balasa 267 views

SUBIC Bay International Airport has reopened for commercial flight operations after it was shut down at the time American forces left the once used as a US Naval Base in Olongapo City, Zambales.

Philippine Airlines aircraft carrying some 300 repatriated overseas Filipino workers from Saudi Arabia was the first to land at the-newly opened SBIA.

The Bureau of Immigration has resumed its operations at the SBIA, a decade after it withdrew its presence there when international flights stopped at the former US Naval Base a decade ago.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said the BI returned to the SBIA on Wednesday as the PAL flight carrying repatriated OFWs from the Middle East marked the first international passenger flight arriving at the area since 2011.

PAL’s maiden flight to Subic was supposed to land last Monday but the aircraft, which carried 309 OFWs and other returning Filipinos from Saudi Arabia, was diverted to Clark International Airport due to bad weather.

Morente welcomed the resumption of international flights in Subic, saying it is an encouraging sign that there is hope that international travel will slowly return to normal after more than a year of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He assured PAL and other airlines that are planning to mount similar flights to Subic that the BI is always ready to field sufficient number of personnel needed to facilitate the smooth conduct of immigration arrival for the passengers.

BI Port Operations Division chief attorney Carlos Capulong said a team of several immigration officers, immigration supervisors, and intelligence agents currently assigned at the Clark airport have been directed to be on-call for deployment to Subic whenever there are flights scheduled to arrive there.

Capulong said the BI may decide to permanently deploy immigration personnel at Subic should international flights there become more frequent in the future.