CEBU

Capitol, MCIAA agree to develop Bantayan airport

BUILDING a concrete pavement for its runway and surrounding fence are among the developments that await the Bantayan Airport in the northern town of Cebu.

Although the long-term plan for the facility is to turn it into a commercial airport, officials of the Provincial Government and the Mactan-Cebu Airport Authority (MCIAA) have agreed to carry out plans on initial upgrading so that the Bantayan Airport could meet the standards of a community airport.

On behalf of the Province, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with MCIAA General Manager Steve Dicdican on Monday, Sept. 30, 2019 at the Bantayan Municipal Hall.

The new MOA supersedes all previous agreements in order to “reflect the true intentions” of the parties that would be mutually beneficial to them.

On Jan. 2, 2003, the MCIAA, Air Transportation Office (now the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, or Caap) and the Province executed a tripartite MOA for the development of the Bantayan Airport on 29 hectares of land owned by the Capitol.

The tripartite agreement expired on Jan. 1, 2013. While it could have been revived for a period of 10 years, it was not renewed by the parties.

The Caap turned over to the MCIAA the management and operation of the facility sometime in January 2018.

This meant that the ownership of all buildings introduced by the Caap, including the lots where these improvements stood, were turned over to the MCIAA.

On Nov. 27, 2018, the Province and the MCIAA entered into a MOA effective for 25 years for the development of a commercial airport.

Under the new MOA, the MCIAA will undertake the administration, security, operations, maintenance and overall management of the facility.

It is also tasked to give preference to local constituents of the towns of Bantayan, Madridejos and Sta. Fe in the hiring of staff and workers.

The Capitol, for its part, has committed to accept all the terms of agreement, which may include the recoupment of the investment of the MCIAA and future plans for the airport.

“Things are turning very bright for Bantayan. From a community airport, we are looking forward to its growing into a commercial airport. Kadaghan sa atong mahimo kung magtinabangay ta (We can achieve a lot when we work together),” Garcia told reporters.

The MCIAA has allocated P94.4 million for the construction of a Portland cement concrete pavement for the airport runway and its surrounding fence.

The construction of the 1.2-kilometer concrete runway is expected to reach completion within 270 days.

At present, Dicdican said the airport has a 900-meter runway that is capable of sustaining general aviation planes and propeller planes.

He said upgrading the facility into a commercial airport would take time since it would entail runway widening and redoing the terminal to make it more sustainable as the number of passengers is expected to increase.

Right now, only Air Juan operates chartered flights to Bantayan, but its operations are minimal. (RTF)


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