“The new airport is designed to accommodate two million passengers per annum with a peak passenger flow of 690 passengers per hour,” Undersecretary Julianito Bucayan of the Department of Transportation and Communications told President Aquino at a briefing.
Palawan is home to the Tubbataha Reefs marine reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Underground River, recently voted among the New7Wonders of Nature.
Bucayan said the target completion date of the $102-million project, which was started in August 2014, is January 2017. He assured the President they are doing everything to finish it “much earlier,” or before Aquino steps down in June 2016.
He said the airport’s capacity had to be expanded to address the growing air traffic in Palawan. The airport was designed to enhance the quality of service and comply with international civil aviation organization safety standards.
“Included in the air navigation system is one of the newest in the Asia-Pacific region. We have the first one in Laguindingan (Cagayan de Oro) and we will be implementing a full Internet protocol, a full digital communications system for this airport,” Bucayan said.
He said the airport could now accommodate four A320s and two A330s passenger planes, adding that the airport capacity is in sync with the passenger terminal capacity.
He said the airport also has a 200-car parking facility.
The passenger terminal building has a floor area of 13,000 square meters, much bigger than the existing 3,000 square meters.
The Export-Import Bank of Korea,under the operation and management of the Economic Development Cooperation Fund of Korea,financed the project.
Mactan-Cebu international airport
Meanwhile, Aquino yesterday led the inauguration of the new Mactan-Cebu International Airport terminal building.
The project, which costs P17.5 billion, was approved by the National Economic and Development Authority in 2013. It is being carried out through public-private partnership (PPP) to increase the airport’s passenger handling capacity from 4.5 million to 15 million per year. It is expected to be completed by June 2019.
The President said there would be 20 additional aircraft parking stands with respective aerobridges, 13 bus parking stands for vehicles that shuttle passengers to and from the airport and more than 550 private vehicle parking stands.
He said a link-bridge to connect domestic and international terminals would be built, aside from 100 domestic and international flight check-in counters from the current 49.
There will be bigger spaces and the flow of operations will be smoother, Aquino said, adding that all the improvements were part of their goal to build quality airport and facilities to serve the passengers.
“We always say this: Under the straight path, our objective is inclusive growth,” the President said.
He said better airports could help boost tourism, which credited as one of the areas responsible for the country’s economic growth.
The President said every tourist could bring in $1,000 to the economy and provide jobs or livelihood opportunities, with the need for more restaurants, souvenir shops, drivers and tour guides.
Quoting his celebrity sister Kris Aquino, the President said tourism could be of help “now” and not tomorrow.
Aquino said flights would be increased along with passengers that could be accommodated. – With Aurea Calica
Read More: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2015/06/30/1471593/2-m-passengers-year-seen-new-palawan-airport