Iloilo Airport should attract foreign air carriers from Japan, South Korea and China to fly directly here.

This is the assessment of Center for Research and Communication (CRC) referring to “Iloilo International Gateway” in a presentation before the meeting of Iloilo Economic Development Foundation Inc. (ILED).

CRC has suggested strategic options for Iloilo Airport to gain more air seats primarily by attracting foreign airlines to have chartered flights here.

“(The airport) should utilize liberal charter policy to encourage foreign airlines from countries like Japan, South Korea and China to utilize their unutilized entitlements in Iloilo,” CRC urged.

CRC said such policy provides “the liberalization of international charter services that shall allow international operations to developmental routes and gateways with or without readily usable allocations can help achieve the objective of promoting the growth and viability of developmental routes and gateways.”

CRC also recommended the appointment of Iloilo Airport authority in the air panel as well as alliance with gateways like Cebu and Davao for their own “open skies” scheme. The “open skies” policy allows the entry of more foreign air carriers to operate in the country.

Iloilo is considered as secondary gateway though most carriers are focused using entitlements on main trunk routes.

CRC said the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) shall determine “national interest” taking into consideration the larger interest of the country, especially the users of air services.

CRC is a private, non-stock, non-profit research institution serving the needs of the business community for economic information. It pioneered in economic forecasting and industry analysis, regularly communicating economic forecasts and industry studies through written reports, briefings, conferences and seminars.

ILED is composed of Ilonggo business executives lobbying for initiatives and promotions to woo prospective investors to Iloilo.

This story first appeared in The Daily Guardian February 10, 2008