The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has assured Gov. Edgar Chatto that the target completion in June and opening in August of the Bohol Panglao airport cannot be affected by the prevailing bad weather.
The rains attributed to the wet phenomenon La Niña, although a weak one as forecast, have been feared to hamper or slow down some phases of the on-going airport construction.
But if there may still be minor works to continue after the turnover of the project in June, they cannot also affect the start of the commercial operation of the airport in August.
DOTR project manager Engr. Edgar Mangalili made the assurance to Chatto during the first project coordination meeting this year presided by the governor right on the airport site on Tuesday.
Japan Airport Consultants (JAC) project manager Engr. Tadashi Aoi and the managers and engineers of the contractors’ consortium, Chiyoda Mitsubishi Joint Venture (CMJV), also allayed the fear of delay.
They said the completion and opening timetables have not changed despite the weather disturbance.
After the meeting, a joint team sent here by the DOTr and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) confirmed that the DOTr already sent notice to Malacañang for the selection of the airport opening date.
The governor already initially talked about this with the people of the different airline companies.
Chatto said the DOTr-CAAP team also inspected the sanitary landfill in Alburquerque for the disposal of the residual wastes generated when the airport is operational.
The airport has its own material recovery facility for waste segregation.
According to the Japanese consultants, 10 commercial flights are projected to arrive at and depart from the new airport every hour.
Only daytime flights will be accommodated starting in August until all the required and necessary navigational equipment and aids will be installed for night flights beginning in January 2019.
The existing Tagbilaran City airport only has 22 flights daily consisting of 11 plane arrivals and 11 departures.
The Panglao airport’s 2.5-kilometer long and 45-meter wide runway is now 100% done, minus the markings, according to Mangalili who presented the airport construction accomplishment progress.
Building works were already 61.17% accomplished as of last December 31, including the passenger terminal building which was 63.21% done.
Solar panels will be installed on the rooftop of the terminal building for most power requirement at daytime.
The air traffic control tower’s elevator has been installed and set for testing in the coming weeks.
First District Engr. De Francis Antonio Flores of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) updated the governor on the expansion of the main airport access road into four lanes, with a center island, and other developments.
The manila bidding for the airport management, operation and maintenance likely through a public-private partnership is in the process.
In case of the PPP entry being yet finalized and the contract yet to be granted, the CAAP is ready to manage in transition the initial operation of the modern airport of international standard.
In other words, the CAAP will operate the Airport while waiting for the outcome of the selection of the possible private operator.
Chatto and Mangalili discussed the possibility of the airport having a depot on an already prepared vacant lot to refuel the planes.
Mangalili said DOTr Sec. Arthur Tugade is keen on providing the vital facility as part of the future developments at the airport already identified for fund sourcing.
Even the present Mactan Cebu international airport has no such facility.
They also discussed the future construction of cargo terminals for use by the different airlines, which companies will themselves build.
But the DOTr secretary would like the government to also provide the facilities after the completion of the airport construction.
There will be a prescribed design so that the cargo terminals match with the overall concept and design of the airport, said to be the country’s first and only “green” airport.
Likewise, there is a ready vacant lot intended for the future extension of the runway into full three kilometers, allowing bigger commercial aircrafts from far origins like the United States and Europe.
Chatto is bullish of the new airport, which is also projected to bring in a million tourists annually, to “trigger Bohol’s economic boom.” (Ven rebo Arigo)