AIRPORT CHECK. Personnel from the Philippine Airlines surveying the airport runway in Borongan City in this Aug. 3, 2022 photo. The city government has welcomed the interest of the country's flag carrier in airport readiness. (Photo courtesy of Borongan City government)

TACLOBAN CITY – The city government of Borongan in Eastern Samar has welcomed the move of flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) to check the airport’s readiness for possible flights and study the local air travel market.

In a statement Thursday, Mayor Jose Ivan Dayan Agda said the visit came after a meeting with city government officials and PAL executives in Pasay City earlier in July.

“The whole community of Borongan is excited to welcome the 'Heart of the Filipino' and embrace them with a warm hospitality. While we are excited to start operations in our airport, we give our partner-airline all the time they need to conduct all the processes to inform their decision. If this partnership pushes through, we are going to make sure that it will be mutually beneficial,” Agda said.

The visit of key PAL personnel aims to evaluate the airport's operability and the market feasibility in Borongan City and Eastern Samar province, a standard practice for airliners ahead of potential flight operations in an airport.

During the visit from August 1 to 3, PAL representatives also met with Agda, Vice Mayor Emman Tiu Sonco, and members of the city council to discuss the next steps.

The visit concluded with an exit briefing at Hilangagan Beach with key city government officials.

“This is a big next step in our bid to connect Borongan City to major cities in the country by air. I am inspired by PAL’s positive outlook towards our request. Thank you to our friends from PAL for their prompt and quick action. I look forward to hearing the airplane voice over that says, ‘we have just landed in Borongan City’ soon,” said Rupert Ambil II, chair of Borongan City flight operations.

On June 22, the Borongan City Airport got a go signal from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to accept flights operated by major airlines and to commence seeking potential commercial airline partners.
Located in Punta Maria village in Borongan City, the airport’s 1.3-kilometer runway can only accommodate turboprop aircrafts such as ATR72, Bombardier’s Q300, and Q400.

Currently, no airlines are operating at this airport.

In April 2019, Borongan City inaugurated its first commercial flight from Borongan to Clark, Pangasinan with airline firm Leading Edge Air Services Corporation. The operation only lasted for three months.

Passengers from Eastern Samar have to take a five-hour trip to reach Tacloban City where the nearest airport is located. (PNA)