The Bohol Panglao International Airport (BPIA) will accommodate its first night flight on Sunday, over a month after the P8.9-billion gateway was declared capable of handling nighttime operations.
Cebu Pacific, the country’s largest budget airline which did the honor of flying the first commercial flight to the BPIA last year, will also be the first to offer night flights at the facility.
Flight 5J 615 of Cebu Pacific from Manila will be the first ever night flight at the BPIA, arriving at the airport at 8:05 p.m. on Sunday, according to a letter sent by the airline’s management to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
After the inaugural flight, Cebu Pacific will start daily nighttime operations at the BPIA. Its aircraft will leave Manila at 6:25 p.m. and arrive Panglao at 8:05 p.m. It will depart Panglao at 8:25 p.m., arriving in Manila at 10:10 p.m.
Camela Clenuar of CAAP, meanwhile, confirmed that budget carrier AirAsia Philippines has also expressed intent to offer night flights at the BPIA starting December 1.
AirAsia, in a proposal sent to CAAP, said that its flight will depart daily from Manila at 5:25 p.m. arriving in Panglao at 6:50 p.m. It will leave Panglao at 7:15 p.m. and arrive in Manila at 8:35 p.m.
According to Clenuar, operations at the BPIA were officially extended last month from 6:00 a.m.-6 p.m. to 6 a.m.-10:00 p.m.
She said that there are already 10 air traffic controllers at the BPIA from just six in previous months.
CAAP Area Center Manager Rafael Tatlonghari earlier noted that additional air traffic controllers were needed for the airport to be capable of conducting night operations.
The BPIA was officially deemed capable of handling night flights in terms of technical requirements by the Department of Transportation last month after the installation of several ground-based navigational equipment.
CAAP Director General Jim Sydiongco said the extended hours of operation of the BPIA are part of the airport’s continuing development towards a more efficient operation and optimum utilization of its facilities.
“The more flights we can accommodate, the more benefits we can offer to our air passengers. This has always been the focal guidance of Secretary Art Tugade – to enhance the connectivity, mobility and comfort of the Filipino people,” Sydiongco said.
According to Clenuar, CAAP is expecting Jeju Air to start its direct Panglao to Incheon, Korea flights on November 21. The airline was initially scheduled to launch the route on October 27 but the plan was deferred.
Royal Air Philippines meanwhile has cancelled its weekly direct chartered flights between Hong Kong and Panglao indefinitely.
The airline has not issued an official statement regarding the cancellation. (A. Doydora)