DOTC set to upgrade Philippines airports

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012


THE Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) intends to upgrade the capability of airports in the country based on volume of air traffic demands, DOTC Undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla said.

Lotilla told Davao media practitioners in an interview that the upgrading of airports is anchored on “economic realities” that basically depend on the volume of passenger flight demands of an area to a specific destination.

He did not, however, reveal the budget for such upgrading project.

DOTC Secretary Mar Roxas said DOTC is improving the terminal facilities of the Davao International Airport, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport in the Visayas and Puerto Princesa in Palawan, and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Roxas bared this in his speech read by Usec Lotilla during the 1st Equator Asia Air Access Forum and Airlines CEO Summit held in the city today (April 18) attended by some 100 summit delegates from Brunei-Darrusalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-Eaga).

"We are enhancing facilities in our major gateways to help realize our goal of 10 million foreign visitors and 30 million domestic travelers by 2016," Roxas said.

Lotila also revealed that DOTC has allotted about P500 million for the installation of additional security screening equipment in all 45 airports nationwide with commercial flights.

Early this year, President Benigno Aquino III approved the P1.16 billion allocation to improve NAIA 1 so it would suit with world-class airport standards.

NAIA 1 now handles 7.3-million annual count of passengers that go beyond its 4.5 million designed annual passenger capacity.

DOTC also allocated P500 million for the architectural, engineering and interior design to improve the internal facilities of NAIA 1, and P300 million for the construction of a rapid exit taxiway to address its runway congestion.

Another P20 million was also allocated for the complete rehabilitation of its 72 toilets.

On the other hand, Lotilla said the construction of a new airport worth P4.46 billion in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, in anticipation of increased tourist influx now that the 8.2-kilometer long Underground Subterranean River has been listed in the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Lotilla took note of other major airport projects foreseen to enhance the country's capacity to handle international and domestic air traffic.

Among which is the P7.85 billion Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental and that the work plan for the P5 billion Bohol Airport “is also in the process of being finalized.”

He said the Laguindingan Airport construction is “95 percent” way to completion.

DOTC website reveals that it has lined up among its major projects the New Legaspi (Daraga) Airport Development with funding allocation of P3.075 billion, due for implementation starting this year until 2015.

Lotilla conveyed commitments of DOTC under the helm of Secretary Roxas, to liberalize air transport policies, upgrading airports outside Metro Manila and eventually linking them with international destinations “including countries in Equator Asia”.

Equator Asia refers to the Asean sub-region Brunei-Darussalam, Indonesia Malaysia Philippines East Asean Growth Area.

DOTC viewed this move as in line with Executive Order No. 29 signed by President Benigno Aquino last year, setting the ‘Open Skies” policy of the Aquino administration, and giving foreign carriers access to international airports all over the country. (PIA)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 19, 2012.

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