Tugade pushes for reopening of airports in GCQ areas
MANILA, Philippines – Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade has ordered the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and other airport authorities to "seriously" consider reopening airports in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ).
These airports will be used to accommodate commercial aviation operations, he said, in a conference call with the DOTr Air Sector on Thursday, April 30.
“The reopening of airports in GCQ areas to commercial aviation will gradually jump start airline operations now hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. This will plant the seeds for domestic tourism. This should seriously be considered,” he said.
During the meeting, Tugade said they must discuss a strategy for the implementation of the "Hub and Spoke" model, wherein air carriers can use regional airports as hubs, in place of airports that are still under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and closed to regular commercial aviation operations.
Among the airports under ECQ are Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, the Clark International Airport (CIA) in Pampanga, and the Davao International Airport.
Under the Hub and Spoke model, commercial airlines can operate in regional airports such as Puerto Princesa, Zamboanga, General Santos, Laguindingan, among others, subject to their aircraft compatibility and configuration.
“We want to operationalize this approach before the end of next week, but of course without compromising health and safety protocols set by the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on the coronavirus pandemic) and the Department of Health,” Tugade said. – Rappler.com