Serving the greater area of SOCCSKSARGEN (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City), the General Santos City Airport is officially classified as an International Airport by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), a government bureau which is responsible in the management and operations of General Santos International Airport and all other airports in the country except regular international airports.
Today, it’s still known by locals as the General Santos City Airport because it only caters to flights coming from Manila and Cebu – there are no international flights as of this writing. General Santos International Airport should be the appropriate name of the airport because it can handle large planes including the A320, A321 and even larger planes.
Approximately 14 kilometers away from the city center of General Santos in the Philippines, the General Santos International Airport is located in Barangay Fatima with an elevation above-mean-sea-level of 154 meters (505 feet). It has a 3221-meter (10,567-feet) long concrete runway with a direction of 17/35. In 2010 it has 477,535 total passengers and based on the 2009 record, it has 2,348 aircraft movements with 8,943 metric tonnes of cargo.
Between the General Santos City Airport and the Pan Philippine Highway is a concrete 6-kilometer Philippine-American Friendship Road which connects to the city proper and the neighboring provinces.
The General Santos International Airport was inaugurated last July 6, 1996 intended to serve the arrival of guests, athletes and participants coming in from different parts of the country who were taking part in the 42nd annual Palarong Pambansa (National Games) that was held in South Cotabato, Sarangani Province and General Santos City (SOCSARGEN) area during that time. This new airport was the replacement of the smaller and old Buayan Airport, which is now rehabilitated into an air station for the use of The Philippine Air Force and changed its name to “Rajah Buayan Air Station”.
Air-conditioned taxis and habal-habal (single motorcycles) are readily available at the General Santos International Airport just outside the terminal building. Taxis charge a fixed rate at P250-P300 while habal-habals charge P120-P150 going to the city center. Major hotels and tour companies have their own shuttle service. Going to the central business district of General Santos City takes about 25 to 30 minutes. Ask the driver to tell you where Aling Dionisia’s (Manny Pacquiao’s Mother) Mansion is and they’ll be glad to help you.
Airphil Express & Philippine Airlines flies from General Santos City Airport to Manila and vice versa while Cebu Pacific flies from Gensan to Cebu and Manila and vice versa.