World class airports to rise in Cebu and Palawan

NAIA_AirportManila: Two world-class airports that will mainly cater to tourists will soon rise in Central Philippines’ Cebu and in Palawan.

Construction works for the new international terminal, the P14.4 billion (Dh1.17 billion) Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA), kicked off last week, Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said.

When completed by 2018, the terminal facility will be the in country’s second-biggest gateway after the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.

Abaya said the MCIA will be the first among several airports planned for construction by the Philippine government over the next several years.

“It will match the best in the world and will not only cement our place on the global map as a major tourist and business destination, it will boost the local economy and is projected to generate jobs especially in Cebu,” he added.

Abaya also said the DMCIA will also be the world’s first “resort airport” — and the Aquino Administration’s first airport project to be built under the public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement.

Under the PPP, the private sector will provide a portion of the funds needed for the construction of a government infrastructure.

The project, which is envisioned by concessionaire GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation covers the construction of a new world-class international passenger terminal building (PTB), as well as the renovation of the existing PTB and its conversion into an exclusively-domestic facility.

The project is expected to be completed by 2018 and will also involve the renovation of the existing passenger terminal.

Upon its completion, the airport’s passenger capacity will be boosted from 4.5 million to 12.5 million per year.

Also on Monday, President Benigno Aquino III officiated ground-breaking rites for another airport, this time in Puerto Princesa City in the country’s western frontier.

The construction of the P3.7 billion (Dhs 301 million) Puerto Princesa International Airport will provide employment to 52,000 Filipinos, according to the presidential palace.

The project, which is expected to be completed by January 2017, was 29.12 per cent completed as of last March.

“The project is designed to enhance the quality of airport services in Palawan to comply with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) safety standards; and expand the Puerto Princesa International Airport’s capacity to address the growing air traffic in Palawan,” said Transportation Undersecretary Julianito Bucayan

He noted that the new airport is expected to accommodate two million passengers per annum, with a peak passenger flow of 690 passengers per hour.

The facility will feature a cargo terminal, a fire and rescue facility, a maintenance building, a power house, and a state-of-the-art air traffic control tower with air navigation aid, in compliance with ICAO Category 1 standards.

The new airport also aims to revitalise the transport and trade linkages under the Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines-East ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Growth Area.

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