The Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) intends to upgrade the capability of airports in the country based on volume of air traffic demands, DoTC Under Secretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla said recently.
Lotilla, who represented DoTC Secretary Mar Roxas to the 1st Equator Asia Air Access Forum and Airlines CEO Summit held in the city told Davao media practitioners in an interview that the upgrading of airports is anchored on “economic realities” which basically depends on the volume of passenger flight demands of an area to a specific destination.
He added that the DoTC is improving the terminal facilities of the Davao International Airport, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport in the Visayas and Puerto Princesa in Palawan, as well as the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
“We are enhancing the facilities in our major gateways to help realize our goal of 10 million foreign visitors and 30 million domestic travelers by 2016,” Lotilla stated.
Lotilla also said the DoTC has allotted about P500 million for the installation of additional security screening equipment in all 45 airports nationwide with commercial flights.
Early this year, President Aquino approved the P1.16-billion allocation to improve NAIA 1 for it to comply with world-class airport standards.
NAIA 1 now handles 7.3 million passengers annually, which go beyond its 4.5-million designed annual passenger capacity.
The DoTC also allocated P500 million for the architectural, engineering and interior design to improve the internal facilities of NAIA 1, and P300 million for the construction of a rapid-exit taxi way to address its runway congestion.
Another P20 million was also allocated for the complete rehabilitation of its 72 toilets.
Lotilla said the construction of a new airport worth P4.46 billion in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, in anticipation of increased tourist influx now that the 8.2-kilometer Underground River has been listed among the New Seven Wonders of the World.
He took note of other major airport projects foreseen to enhance the country’s capacity to handle international and domestic air traffic.
One of these was the P7.85-billion Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental. The workplan for the P5-billion Bohol Airport, he said, “is also in the process of being finalized.”
Lotilla said the Laguindingan Airport construction is “95 percent” complete.
The DoTC Web site reveals that it has lined up among its major projects, the New Legaspi (Daraga) Airport development with funding allocation of P3.075 billion, due for implementation starting this year until 2015.
Lotilla conveyed commitments of the DoTC to liberalize air transport policies, upgrade airports outside Metro Manila and eventually link them with international destinations “including countries in Equator Asia.”
Equator Asia refers to the Asean sub-region Brunei-Darussalam,-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area ( BIMP-EAGA).
The DoTC viewed this move as in line with Executive Order 29 signed by President Aquino last year, setting the “Open Skies” policy of the Aquino administration, and giving foreign carriers access to international airports all over the country.
Among the airports outside Metro Manila which the DoTC plans to open up for international air traffic are those in Davao, Zamboanga and Palawan as these are “strategically close to destinations in BIMP-EAGA,” Lotilla said. PIA
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