When the General Santos International Airport opened its doors way back in 1996, it was as modern an air travel facility can be, even with the deliberate traditional styling of its main terminal building. Unfortunately, with the passing of time and minimal maintenance, attrition of usage has taken its toll on the GSIA (airport code GES). But it was only within this decade that plans to renovate the airport began to materialize, in time for its 20th anniversary. Work was supposed to start in 2017, but was delayed. The renovations were supposed to be done in June 2019, but as of February 2020, work is still underway on the site.

It seems to have come to the point, as puts it, that GenSan City Mayor Ronnel Rivera cannot see work being done on the General Santos International Airport to be completed by the second estimated deadline of May 2020, some three months from now. But for Mayor Rivera, he does not see how the contractors will be able to beat the new completion date barring a “miracle” that is not sure they can do. The fact that large areas of the main terminal building remain cordoned off is testament to the repeated construction delays.

Renovation work on the airport should have started in April of 2017; but Vicente T. Lao Construction and C.B. Garay Philwide Builders Inc., joint contractors of the project priced at P452 million, only began sometime after that month. When the original due date was passed last year, the contractors requested the completion be adjusted by September 2019. Needless to say, that new deadline was missed as well, prompting a second rescheduling for this coming May. Mayor Rivera and the city LGU have remarked that they will follow up on the progress, but confidence in a speedy conclusion has since ebbed.

The worst part is that it was at this period of time that various local carriers have begun adding air routes connecting GenSan to major parts of the country have started operations. No less than a charter flight and budget air carrier AirAsia Philippines have opened routes between the city and Clark Economic Zone in Luzon this month, along with additional flights to Cebu by next month. AirAsia Philippines CEO Ricky Isla has also promised on a GenSan-Manila-GenSan route to commence later in the year.

Image from Foursquare City Guide

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