500% hike in Tacloban airport terminal fee opposedBy Joey Gabieta
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—Business leaders and local officials are opposed to a plan to increase the terminal fee at Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport, the biggest in Eastern Visayas.
They said airport facilities should be improved first before the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) increases the terminal fee by 500 percent — from P30 per passenger to P150.
Raul Glorioso, chief of the CAAP Aerodrome Development and Management Service, said the airport’s terminal fee has not been increased for 14 years.
“Based on inflation rate, the equivalent of the [current terminal fee] is around P150 already,” Glorioso said.
In 2011, the airport’s terminal fee collection reached only P15.3 million. In 2009, there was a proposal to increase the fee to P200 but it was shelved in light of strong opposition.
The CAAP, which maintains and operates the airport, held its last public consultation on the proposed increase on Wednesday. But the city government and the business sector opposed the increase.
The terminal building and other facilities should be improved first before any increase is implemented, said Bernardita Valenzuela, chief information officer of Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez.
She said the stand of the city government reflected the general sentiment of air travelers.
The Tacloban Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which was represented in the public hearing, also opposed the proposal.
Go Tic Cheng, the chamber’s president, said while businessmen were amenable to an increase, the 500-percent increase was too much.
“The TFCCCI agrees to a P20 increase of the present P30 terminal fee provided the agency could prove to the public its intention to provide better facilities and services,” Go said.
Passengers often complain of lack of water, poor air-conditioning and lack of space and seats, among others.
The Department of Transportation and Communications, through CAAP, plans to implement a five-year improvement project for the airport, which is estimated to cost P500 million.