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BORONGAN AIRPORT: GETTING READY


SKYJET FLYING TO BORONGAN CITY PH:

By: Cora Basada 

WHY WE SHOULD SUPPORT THE FLIGHTS

 2014 appears to have become the gateway for things bright and beautiful for Borongan: the long drought for convenient air travel to and from Manila seems to be at a culmination and an imminent economic advancement for the city looms as the Skyjet inaugural flight on October 29 rapidly approaches.

 In August this year, Mayor MARIA FE ABUNDA created and assigned a committee to communicate and negotiate with airlines for the possibility of flying direct to Borongan to answer to what has been the longest desire of Borongan constituents: a more convenient travel to and from the Philippine capital. On August 31, 2014 the committee chaired by Hon. JESSE SOLIDON encountered a bump in the road when the dialogue between Borongan City Officials and Cebu Pacific turned out unsuccessful because the Borongan Airport fell short of the airline’s airport/runway requirements for safe landings and take offs.

 Undaunted by the temporary setback, Hon. SOLIDON continued doggedly in search of airlines willing to fly to Borongan, and found Skyjet

  STATUS OF THE SKYJET FLIGHTS TO BORONGAN

 Like any other business, running an airline is based on profits. Skyjet was assured Borongan has enough air commuters, along with a strong commitment that the local government will help promote the flights so that flying to Borongan will be profitable. The airline however, may not have been reassured enough because instead of accepting our invitation and offering flights at commercial rates, they opted to offer us CHARTERED flights. Skyjet President and CEO Dr. Joel Mendoza said this will continue until the number of passengers fulfills their requirement to make it commercially viable for them. Until then, and until Skyjet deems it profitable for their company, flights to Borongan will remain CHARTERED.

  THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHARTED FLIGHTS FROM COMMERCIAL FLIGHTS
A CHARTER is basically “pakyaw” in its simplest. The two-way trip is paid in full according to the aircraft’s seat capacity, with or without passengers. COMMERCIAL flights are like those of Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines and Zest Air, where commuters buy prevailing ticket prices prescribed by the airline as approved by the Civil Aviation Board (CAB) be there are passengers or none.

COST OF TRANSPORT / PRICE OF AIR FARE
 Ticket cost should be computed as “charter amount divided by the number of seats” of the 32-seater plane being provided by Skyjet; hence, the initial information that the ticket would cost Php 5,000.00++ per way was only but fitting in order to pay for cost of charter.

 But what happens if the seats are not sold? WHO WILL PAY FOR THE UNSOLD TICKETS/SEATS? The charterer pays for the charter cost. In this case, since it is the local government unit that invited the airline to fly the Borongan route to serve our commuters, the burden of paying for the unsold tickets lie upon the LGU.

  A SIMPLE SOLUTION TO AN EXPENSIVE AIR FARE
 The Php 5,000.000++ fare comes out expensive and unaffordable to the ordinary flyer. Mayor ABUNDA suggested a simple solution: given that the LGU will be paying for unsold tickets and as THE GOVERNMENT IS SPENDING IN ORDER TO HAVE FLIGHTS to Borongan Airport, the tickets might as well be lowered affordable to everyone; hence a reasonable new rate came up.

  CITY AND PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT COOPERATION
 Congressman BEN P. EVARDONE suggested to Borongan City Mayor MARIA FE R. ABUNDA and Governor CONRADO B. NICART, Jr. to join forces so Skyjet can provide Estehanons the ease of travel especially with the current situation of the Tacloban Airport undergoing repairs and airline tickets going sky high. On October 3, in a meeting in Makati along with other Mayors from Eastern Samar, Governor NICART and Mayor ABUNDA sealed an agreement that both local government units will contribute to make the flights to Borongan possible. This financial collaboration between the Provincial Government and the City of Borongan may very well be the beginning of continuous flights to the Borongan Airport.

  UNTIL WHEN CAN THE GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIZE THE FLIGHTS?
 The government will be spending much to provide ease of travel to people from these parts, open bigger opportunities for business and commerce, and pave the way to promoting Eastern Samar as THE alternative eco-tourist destination in the country with our pristine natural treasures. However, until when can the government shoulder a very pricey expense to provide us better transportation options and make Eastern Samar more accessible to the rest of the country and the world? Both the Provincial and City Governments are doing their best to provide us the direct Manila-Borongan flights we have long desired. Time has come for us to do our part to make this successful as we are the direct beneficiaries of this endeavor. If we support the flights and more passengers fly the Manila-Borongan-Manila route and thereby compel the airline to provide a bigger aircraft to accommodate the increasing number of flyers, and as the flight frequency becomes twice to thrice weekly (or even more), the Borongan route could be deemed commercially profitable - and instead of flying chartered, the airline could decide to fly commercial. Once this happens, ticket prices will be competitive with that of PAL, Cebu Pacific and other airlines flying commercially which becomes more beneficial to us ordinary commuters who want to experience the convenience of air travel. Who knows, other airline companies may become interested in flying this route, thus providing us with more options with regards to choice of carrier and cheaper airline tickets. If Batanes and other far-flung provinces that are now enjoying the benefits of commercial flights were able to do this…then US ESTEHANONS can do this, too. All it takes is OUR SUPPORT as WE DO OUR PART…as direct beneficiaries of this initiative, and as Estehanons working together for a common good.