(SBMA chairman and administrator Wilma T. Eisma (left) concludes an agreement with AsBAA chairperson Jennyn Lao for the development and operation of the Subic airport. Photo by Malou Dungog)
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) to further develop the Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) for business aviation.
SBMA chairman and administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the agreement was signed during the Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition 2018 on April 17 in Shanghai, China.
Under the MOU, AsBAA will help develop infrastructures at the SBIA, as well as assist in operations at the airport, while offering business aviation services in the Philippines through Subic.
AsBAA Philippine Chapter chairman Benjamin Lopez said that AsBAA “will support and advise on the initial design and ongoing operation of the SBIA to bring about an immediate and reliable facility that regional business aviation and general aviation operators can access as another option to operate from in the Philippines.”
Lopez, who is also the president of Inaec Aviation Corp., said that the country’s focus on infrastructure development to help decongest Manila in the aviation sector is most welcome.
“Plans have long been discussed and now is the time for action.We are delighted to assist the authorities in advising on these vital enhancements to Philippine aviation infrastructure,” he added.
The AsBAA Philippine chapter was launched in September 2017 and is the newest addition to AsBAA’s regional committees.
The chapter started 2018 by leading a delegation of its members on a site visit and investment trip to Manila, Clark and Subic Airports to meet with regulators, airport operators, and aviation stakeholders.
On January 27, AsBAA president Max Motschmann led an ocular inspection of the SBIA to determine the business potential of the area.
The MOU for SBIA was the second agreement that the association signed this year to help develop airport infrastructures in Southeast Asia. The first agreement was with the Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad.
Eisma said that she wants to make SBIA a business aviation airport and to prepare it as well for general aviation; maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services; and charter flights.
She added that passenger aviation should be focused in Clark Airport and not here in Subic.
“We can get spillover from neighboring airports like Clark, but I would rather court general aviation and business aviation heavily and have a niche for them to attract tourists with curated experiences,” Eisma added.