The modern Bohol Airport of international standard targets to be operational by the middle of next year.
“It can open to commercial flights starting June in 2018,” Project Director Edgar Mangalili of the Department of Transportation (DOT) said with much optimism as the project is 06% advanced.
This latest development dispelled earlier rumors that the new airport construction will be delayed by more than a year.
The opening of the new airport will formally open Bohol to the world with chattered as well as regular international flights can now be accommodated to bring thousands of tourists who will welcome the convenience in a direct flight to this island paradise.
In fact, even before the opening of the new airport in Panglao, daily flights from Incheon, South Korea to the existing Tagbilaran City Airport will commence by next month. The maiden flight of Philippine Airlines will be on June 22 this year.
The rate the construction of the new airport has progressed, Gov. Edgar Chatto expressed elation on the double time work supervised by Japanese consultants and the consortium of contractors.He presided a project coordination meeting at the Governor’s Mansion last Friday.
“I’m very inspired by this information” and “very happy we’re up,” Gov. Chatto said,
The attending officials of the Japanese Airport Consultants (JAC) and consortium of contractors, Chiyoda-Mitsubishi Joint Venture (CMJV), assured to do their best and complete the project on time.
They are JAC Project Manager Tadashi Aoi and, all of the CMJV, Mitsubishi Corp. Deputy General Manager Takeo Kato, Project Manager Aisuke Ando, Deputy Project Manager Takayuki Nagahara and Chief Contracts Engineer Guy Stephen Richmond.
Chatto used the time to also brief them of the security condition of the province, telling them not to worry because Bohol is safe.
Aoi said “the Japanese do not feel afraid in Bohol” and he would even tell his Western friends to come here and “not be afraid,” too.
CAAP EVEN WANTS MARCH OPENING
At a meeting in Manila early last week, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) would like the new Bohol airport to be already opened in March next year even yet for general aviation.
But, Mangalili said, the DOTr “objected” for “security issues” considering that there will still be workers in the area during that period.
The opening flights in June 2018 will be already commercial following a first flight check in as early as March, the DOTr project manager said
Mangalili explained that the visual flight rules (VFR) will yet apply to the initial, opening flights in the first six months of the airport operation.
Visual flight rules (VFR) are a set of regulations under which a pilot operates an aircraft in weather conditions generally clear enough to allow the pilot to see where the aircraft is going.
Simplified, the aircraft may not be able to land during bad weather resulting in visibility difficulty, the DOTr official said, further citing the experiences at the existing Tagbilaran City airport as a “perfect example.”
But Mangalili quickly added that the new airport operation will then also apply the instrument flight rules (IFR) for already “all-weather” navigation six months after or beginning in January 2019.
The IFR is a set of regulations under which a pilot operates under conditions in which flights by outside visual reference is not safe, or flights by reference to instruments in the flight deck and navigation is accomplished by reference to electronic signals.
A pilot may choose to fly in accordance to the IFR in visual meteorological conditions or may be required to do so by the appropriate air traffic service authority.
Aircraft shall be equipped with suitable instruments and with navigation equipment appropriate to the route to be flown.
Although entirely incomparable to the Panglao airport by design, size and capacity, the Tagbilaran City airport will accommodate daily Philippine Airlines (PAL) flights from South Korea starting June 22 this year.
Chatto announced that the national flag carrier will hold the media/publicity launching of its newest international route linking Korea and Bohol for the first time on May 30.
He informed the Korean friends during the “Bohol-Korea Friendship Night” here early last week about the much-anticipated daily flights between the two distant places that share tourism interests.
Not just in tourism, Korea is one of the foreign major supporters of Bohol in educational and agricultural enhancements.
The Korea-Bohol flight will have its stopover in Clark, Pampanga for refueling, also giving convenience to the passengers from central and northern Luzon who travel to Bohol with no more hassle of going to the Manila airport.
In the immediate future, this can open other international routes that will connect to Bohol via Clark, especially when Panglao airport will finally be in use.
Chatto would also like to see soon another regular Mindanao air flight connecting Bohol and Davao in addition to the Bohol-Cagayan de Oro route.
“We have to prove the possibility of passengers to and from Davao by air which has never been tested by sea,” he said.
SIMULTANEOUS WORKS FOR FAST COMPLETION
By visual presentation, the DOTr updated the governor on the different airport construction activities, including the contractor’s fast prefabrication of materials being done outside Bohol like the huge trashes assembled in Batangas.
They are now completing the heavy construction items for shipment here, assured Mangalili.
Chatto was pleased by the updates, especially in knowing that some important works have been done outside Bohol simultaneously with the construction activities right on Panglao project site.
He instructed the local Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to hasten the preparation for the conversion into a national road of the barangay road which is the immediate access to the resorts from the airport.
Chatto and DPWH Sec. Mark Villar already inspected the particular road which is going barangay Tawala in Panglao.
While then a congressman, Chatto nationalized by his laws certain important provincial roads, but he said national conversion of local road can also be done by administrative issuance and he already talked with Villar about it.
Also, the governor instructed the local DPWH to accelerate the installation of necessary and appropriate streetlighting system along the existing national road leading to the airport once the project fund will be ready.
He would have it checked if there was already instruction since the governor and the highways secretary likewise already discussed the project.
THIRD TAGBILARAN-PANGLAO BRIDGE
Days to the airport project coordination meeting, Provincial Administrator Alfonso Damalerio II discussed with DPWH Planning Service Dir. Constante Llanes, Jr. the progress of the feasibility study and advanced engineering design of the third bridge linking Tagbilaran City and Panglao island via Dauis.
The offshore bridge connector is in anticipation of the sure, unprecedented inbound and outbound Tagbilaran-Panglao heavy traffic once the new airport will have operationalized.
Damalerio and Llanes, meanwhile, happen to be fellows and batchmates of the integrated wastewater management training sponsored by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Japan 15 years ago.
The JICA is the foreign main funder of the Panglao airport project, which Local Project Management Team (LPMT) project manager is also Damalerio. (Ven rebo Arigo)