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Subic singled out to perform MRO work
Under a corporate jet maintenance bubble concept, business jets may come into Subic for maintenance work without the limiting COVID-19 restrictions currently being implemented at other local airports.
The SBMA has marked out SBIA for its strategic location, being 1.5 hours away from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
Read this story in our April 2021 printed issue.

Intending to capitalise on Subic's safety record as an international gateway, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), the operator of Subic Bay International airport in the Philippines, has developed an end-to-end platform that will deliver corporate jet maintenance service despite the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

SBMA chairman and administrator Wilma T. Eisma said its corporate jet maintenance bubble will be located at the airport, which also houses a crew-change hub for mariners that is being operated by the Department of Transportation.

“The corporate jet maintenance bubble is roughly the same concept; it will be a complete process that precludes any third-party engagement because the accommodation, amenities and services are all in one place, and everything stays isolated,” Eisma explains.

She goes on to say that the SBMA recognised the financial pressure faced by the aviation industry and had developed the bubble to provide a safe, seamless and efficient mechanism that will enable business jet operators in the Asia Pacific region to meet their maintenance needs in the Philippines despite the ongoing crisis.

Eisma says the CJMB was developed in accordance with Resolution 84 of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), which authorised the SBMA to set up a corporate jet flight maintenance and crew layover hub at the Subic Freeport under a strict bubble concept, as recommended by the DOTr and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

“With this project, we can also generate income for the airport and once more push its potential as a regional aviation hub,” Eisma adds.

Under the bubble concept, business jets may come into Subic for maintenance work without the limiting restrictions currently being implemented at other local airports.

The end-to-end process was carefully tailored to ensure a level of safety that would meet existing guidelines from regulatory agencies like CAAP, ICAO and IATA, as well as the World Health Organization, Department of Health and the IATF.

Significantly, the Philippine Bureau of Immigration has announced the lifting of travel restrictions on the 36 countries with reported cases of the new COVID variants starting 1 February, following a directive from the IATF.

Eisma continues: “The SBMA will strive to continuously work with the IATF, BI, DOTr and other stakeholders to ensure transparency and commitment to safety while facilitating the safe positioning of flights and their respective crew to and from Subic.”

The SBMA had approved an aviation MRO facility at Subic airport as early as August 2019, giving services provider Aviation Concepts Technical Services Inc. (ACTSI) its go-ahead for the full development of the airport as a 24/7 hub for business aviation. The SBMA has since marketed SBIA for its strategic location, being 1.5 hours away from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan and three hours away from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

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