Iloilo airport opens in June

May 14, 2007 – The P8.759-billion Iloilo Airport Development Project, the the first and largest of the 16 airports that are under development in the Central Philippines tourism super region, will officially open in June 2007.

Presidential Management Staff director general, who heads the government's Infrastructure Monitoring Task Force, said the airport was actually completed as early as March, but its commercial operation was set in June, after the election period.

The airport project is the largest and most expensive among the airport development projects in Central Philippines, the tourism super region which covers 27 provinces in Southern Tagalog including Palawan, Bicol, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, Western Mindanao, Northern Mindanao and Caraga.

Once operational, the Iloilo airport is seen to be the second largest airport in the Visayas, after the Mactan International Airport in Cebu.

"With the completion of the new Iloilo airport, Panay Island now has an international airport that will boost economic activity and tourism in the island," Remonde said.

Supported by a 14.724-billion-yen loan (P5.9 billion) from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, the new Iloilo airport development project is located 19 kilometers northwest of Iloilo City on a 188-hectare site between the towns of Cabatuan and Santa Barbara. It will replace the old airport in Mandurriao, Iloilo City.

Built by the Japanese firm Taisei Shimizu Joint Venture company, the new airport features a 2,500-meter-by-45 -meter runway that can accommodate large aircraft such as the Boeing 747. It has a 12,000-square meter passenger terminal that can accommodate 1.222 million passengers annually and a 1,281-square-meter cargo terminal that can handle 11,500 metric tons of cargo.

Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano, who heads the Central Philippines super region, said the development of new airports in the region will be a boost to the tourism industry.

Four airport development projects are also expected to be completed this year, including the New Bacolod Airport Development Project, costing P6.376 billion; and those in Bulan, Sorsogon (P15 million); Kalibo, Aklan (P105 million), and Siargao in Surigao del Norte (P58 million).

Durano said two major airport projects are expected to start construction late this year or early next year. These are the P3.44-billion Bicol International Airport in Daraga, Albay and the P2.87-billion Panglao Bohol International Airport in Panglao Island, Bohol.

Other airport development projects are the Puerto Princesa Airport, costing P3.132 billion; Busuanga Airport, P1.224 billion; Balabac, P303 million; and San Vicente, P100 million which are all located in Palawan province.

Also under development are Tacloban Airport, costing P1.121 billion; San Jose, Romblon, P303 million; Kabankalan Airport in Negros Occidental, P303 million; Dumaguete Airport, P290 million; and Guiuan, Eastern Samar, P142 million. Roderick T. dela Cruz 

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