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Iloilo airport readies for int’l flights

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Iloilo airport readies for int’l flights

/ 09:16 PM November 05, 2012

ILOILO CITY—The Iloilo international airport will start hosting direct international flights on Thursday, a move seen as a “big boost” to tourism for Iloilo and Western Visayas.

Budget carrier Cebu Pacific will launch an inaugural flight to Hong Kong with a program at 6 p.m., according to the Department of Tourism (DOT) regional director, Helen Catalbas. Departure time is 11:10 p.m.

Cebu Pacific flights to Singapore will commence on Nov. 9, three times a week. The Iloilo-Hong Kong flights will be twice a week.

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Tourist arrivals are expected to increase significantly in Western Visayas with the opening of regular international flights along with regional flights earlier this year from the Iloilo airport in Cabatuan town outside the city. The P8.76-billion airport opened in June 2007.

Catalbas estimated a 15-percent increase in domestic and foreign tourist arrivals this year from last year’s total number of 2.47 million.

The inaugural flight from Hong Kong is scheduled to arrive in Iloilo at 4:45 a.m. on Nov. 9, carrying the heads of 10 Filipino migrant workers groups and Philippine Consul General to Hong Kong Noel Servigon.

The maiden flight from Singapore will arrive in Iloilo at 6:10 a.m. on Nov. 10 with representatives of 12 Singaporean travel agencies onboard, according to Catalbas.

With the start of direct international flights, Iloilo becomes the fifth Cebu Pacific hub after Manila, Cebu, Clark and Davao.

Last week, the DOT turned over to the Bureau of Immigration six computer units to be used for scanning and verifying passports of foreign passengers. Nestor P. Burgos Jr., Inquirer Visayas

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