Talks on the expansion of the new Bohol Panglao International Airport (BPIA) have started as the passenger arrivals catered already reached 1.5 million as of October this year.
The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) has been monitoring the arrivals and services at the BPIA to be able to calculate the expansion works needed when already due in time.
Boholano NEDA Secretary Ernesto Pernia said they are also monitoring the increasing arrivals at the BPIA for the Aboitiz Group’s reference.
The NEDA recently approved the entry of Aboitiz Group to operate and maintain the Bohol Panglao International Airport.
In his State-of-the-Province Address (SOPA) last year, then governor, now First District Congressman Edgar Chatto reported to the people that the arrivals in 2018 reached 1.4 million.
As of October this year, or a month to the first anniversary of the BPIA’s inauguration, influx of passengers already reached 1.5 million.
With the new modern airport now and the flights to and from Korea and China having been added recently, the arrivals have already gone beyond 1 million.
The new Bohol Panglao International Airport is projected to achieve sooner than expected, the targeted 2 million passengers.
The BPIA’s facilities have been designed to accommodate 2 million passengers a year.
The influx of passengers is expected to further increase, considering the upgrading of the airport facilities which capacitated the airport to accommodate night flights starting the last week of October.
The night flights also paved for regional flights which are now available.
Pernia traced his participation from the time the former governor, now First District Rep. Edgar Chatto, coordinated with the University of the Philippines (UP) Advisory Council to fast-track the completion of the new airport.
The UP Advisory Council was formed to facilitate the lobbying of the funding for the BPIA.
Pernia recalled that indeed, the funding was approved, and such allocation was implemented in the time of then President Benigno Aquino III up to the completion of BPIA when he became NEDA secretary under President Rodrigo Duterte.
The NEDA recently approved the entry of Aboitiz Group to operate and maintain the BPIA.
Aboitiz will not only improve the passenger flow, but will also provide better retail and dining services.
It will also design improvements to reduce or prevent congestion.
Aboitiz will also expand the airport facilities, including the terminal and the runway.
The expansion design will be based on the projected arrivals in the coming years.
It was in September this year that Vice-Gov. Rene Relampagos announced that the BPIA was already ready for night flights.
By then, two airline companies had already prepared for their respective night flights to start by October.
This was after the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) approved night flights at the BPIA from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
It came just in time when two airline companies had expressed intentions to open international flights at the BPIA.
It started with Jeju Air and AirAsia starting their international flights connecting Bohol.
Jeju Air started its flight from Bohol to Incheon, South Korea on October 27.
AirAsia followed with flights to Zhejiang in China, and also Korea.
Philippine Airlines also added a Bohol-Manila flight, a night flight.
PAL is also considering international flights to connect to Bohol.
When the BPIA was inaugurated on November 27 last year, the sunlight limitation that prevents night flights became an issue as it prevents airlines to open night flights.
The sunlight limitation had also been blamed for cancelled flights, especially for last flights.
At that time, the airport still had to operate under Visual Flight Rules like the Tagbilaran Airport in the past.
Now, with the approval of CAAP, the BPIA can already accommodate night flights which brought more passengers to and from Bohol.