Gov eyes commercial seaplane flight from Manila to Pangasinan
GABRIEL L. CARDINOZA
The Manila Times
LINGAYEN, Pangasinan: A regular commercial seaplane flight from Metro Manila to Pangasinan province is now being considered after a seaplane test flight landed successfully in the waters off the Hundred Islands National Park in Alaminos City on Sunday, November 19. “We’re thinking of ways to connect the province to the central business district in Metro Manila while we do not yet have an airport in Bolinao and Alaminos,” said Gov. Ramon Guico 3rd shortly after the flag raising ceremony here. The test flight took off from the airport here with passengers that included Guico, his father, Pangasinan 5th District Rep. Ramon Guico Jr., and Pangasinan 1st District Rep. Arthur Celeste. “It was okay, [the test flight was] successful. There are initial hurdles, of course,” said Guico, who is also a pilot. He said sea condition is one of the primary considerations in operating an amphibious plane. He said that a good seaplane route would be from Manila Bay to Pangasinan, landing in Bolinao and Hundred Islands. “These flights will be good for our tourism and people’s daily commute, especially those who have to go back and forth from Pangasinan to Manila,” Guico said. “It’s just 40 minutes, so it will save you a lot of time,” he added. A seaplane can accommodate eight to 10 passengers. “We are now trying to convince the operator,” Guico said. For the Bolinao airport, Guico said that the provincial government has allocated P800 million for the first phase of the project. “We’re now at the phase of land acquisition. And then we’re doing the engineering plans,” Guico said. He said they are now expanding the length of the runway to 2,500 meters to accommodate the landing of Airbus A320 airplanes. The runway was initially 1,500 meters long and could only allow turbo prop planes to land. “The runway will be finished by next year, and in two years, the airport is operational,” Guico said. He said that what is expensive in the airport construction is the initial earthworks and the runway. “We’re studying other modalities to finance the airport terminal building. It could be by buildlease-transfer, or we can build it by phase using our own funds,” Guico said. Last month, Guico signed a P4.2-billion sub-loan agreement with the Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) to finance various provincial government projects, including the acquisition of support facilities for the establishment of the Bolinao airport.