(Eagle News) — The Bureau of Immigration announced its return to the Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA), a decade after it withdrew its presence there when international flights stopped.
In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the bureau went back to the former US naval base on Wednesday when a Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight carrying 309 repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Saudi Arabia landed at the airport.
That marked the first time an international passenger flight arrived there since 2011, the bureau said.
PAL’s maiden flight to Subic was supposed to land last Monday but the aircraft had been diverted to the Clark International Airport (CIA) due to bad weather.
Morente welcomed the resumption of international flights in Subic, saying it is an encouraging sign that there is hope that international travel will slowly return to normal after more than a year of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Carlos Capulong, bureau Port Operations Division chief, said a team of several immigration officers, immigration supervisors, and intelligence agents currently assigned at the Clark airport have been directed to be on-call for deployment to Subic whenever there are flights scheduled to arrive there.
He said the bureau may decide to permanently deploy immigration personnel there if international flights there become more frequent in the future.
“As of now, it is only PAL that has informed us of its intention to mount flights to Subic. We were told that this July there are four flights from Saudi Arabia that will be landing there,” Capulong said.