Smart Ads Spoil Aesthetic Value of Iloilo Airport

The Iloilo Airport (IATA and ICAO code: ILO) is a sight to behold, as manifested here by the wonderful photos from the Philippines Travel Guide website.

ILO is located about 19 kilometers north-northwest of Iloilo City on a 188-hectare site, straddling the towns of Cabatuan, where the northern end and much of the runway is located, San Miguel, where the southern end is, and Sta. Barbara, where the scenic access road and grand entrance is located.  It opened to commercial traffic on June 14, 2007 after a decade of planning and construction, replacing the old Mandurriao Airport in Iloilo City, which had been in service for over seventy years. During its inauguration, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo remarked that the Iloilo Airport is probably “one of the most beautiful and modern in the country” and called it “a symbol of both political will and economic maturity.”

The Iloilo Airport is the fourth busiest airport in the Philippines after Manila (MNL), Cebu (CEB) and Davao (DVO). By the end of 2010, ILO served 1.5 million passengers, higher than the projected 1.4 million passenger turnout by 2015, as estimated by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP). The 2010 record also showed that Iloilo Airport, having a 6.4 peak hour landings, already reached 15,902 aircraft movements – 31 percent higher than the 11,700 forecast for 2015. It is not surprising therefore, that funds are set aside already for the Iloilo Airport expansion starting next year, for its transition from domestic to international.

Having said how beautiful and busy ILO is, it is lamentable how the greed for advertising revenue could actually blind the airport management from the effects of brazen forms of advertising to the aesthetic value of the Iloilo Airport. Whereas before, the view of the bucolic countryside from the departure lounge – which is one of my reasons why waiting for your plane at the Iloilo Airport is such a pleasant experience – is unobstructed and undimmed, now it is blocked and darkened by the ads of Smart Communications. Their ugly, tasteless and loud ads run from end to end of the glass picture windows.

View of the departure lounge without the Smart ads.

View of the bucolic Iloilo countryside without the Smart ads.

View of the picture window dimmed and obstructed by the Smart ads. Photo courtesy of Kenneth Melicado.

The offending Smart ads as viewed from the airside. Photo courtesy of Kenneth Melicado.

The offending Smart ads as viewed from the airside. Photo courtesy of Kenneth Melicado.

This is a serious offense to the beauty of the Iloilo Airport. We all know that one of the reasons why ILO is considered by many as one of the most beautiful airports in the country – aside from the terminal, the landscaping and the scenic access road – is the beautiful view of the countryside from the departure lounge. Those Smart ads obstruct the view from the departure lounge and cheapens the look of the Iloilo Airport from the airside. They should be taken down immediately. And Smart should think of smarter ways to advertise.

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