AirAsia has commended the efforts taken by the Department of Transport in pushing for the rehabilitation of Runway 13/31 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
The inaugural ceremony of the runway today paves the way for a better and more efficient distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and supports the reopening of more tourist destinations in the near future.
This is key as AirAsia considers the improvements on airport structures and facilities as essential developments to providing guests with efficient air travel and services. Pre-pandemic days, AirAsia heavily utilizes NAIA Terminal 4 and Runway 13/31 resulting in its commendable On Time Performance (OTP).
In his message during the ceremony, AirAsia CEO Ricky Isla said, “The completion of the upgrade of runway 13/31 is very timely and beneficial in facilitating better air traffic at NAIA as we gear up for the largest humanitarian effort of transporting COVID-19 vaccines.
“This will also aid domestic tourism as we increase our services to key summer destinations, expand connectivity across our islands, enhance networks, and provide greater opportunities for Filipinos, as we encourage our guests to RED-yscover the Philippines while promoting safe leisure travels.
Air travelers can be assured that AirAsia will remain committed to offer affordable flights, flexible services, and launch new routes which are all in support of the Department of Tourism as we aim to boost local economies.”
Also present during the inaugural ceremony today were esteemed members of the Cabinet that included Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines Director General Capt. Jim Sydiongco, Civil Aeronautics Board Director Carmelo Arcilla, and other airline executives.
NAIA’s Runway 13/31 which services most of the domestic flights and short-haul aircraft such as the Airbus A320 was temporarily closed last year to give way to major rehabilitation and extension. The decline in the number of domestic and international flights due to the pandemic allowed the completion of the project ahead of the projected timeline.
Other related works included facilities for aircraft safe landing and take-off, as well as the repair and upgrading of deteriorated asphalt pavement connecting to Terminal 4 Apron and North & South Taxiway.
Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat shared Mr. Isla’s sentiments and excitement over the rehabilitated runway. Local tourism industry which was among the hardest hit of the Covid-19 pandemic is seen to recover starting this summer.
Secretary Puyat said, “With the opening of runway 13-31, we, at DOT, hope to open more destinations with uniform travel restrictions”.
Malacanang meanwhile lauded DOTr’s continued support to the country’s recovery from the pandemic. Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said, “The pandemic allowed us to move forward. DOTr took advantage of the pandemic for the benefit of the Filipino people. DOTr has been taking concrete steps to address congestion problems at NAIA.“