By Minerva Newman
TAGBILARAN CITY — Night flights are now allowed at the new Bohol Panglao International Airport (BPIA).
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) authorized last Aug. 15 the airport to operate for 16 hours.
The airport used to have daytime flights only since it opened last year.
Bohol Rep. Edgar Chatto said the BPIA will gradually accommodate more day and night flights until it eventually operates for 24 hours.
Ongoing negotiations with airline companies for additional flights include possible direct international flights to BPIA.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade provided an update on the BPIA as he replied to Chatto’s queries on the airport‘s operation and related issues during the congressional hearing of the agency’s proposed 2020 budget.
Chatto was told that operational time can be extended as air traffic increase, but additional expenses are incurred every time an operation hour is added, and cost is always considered to determine the viability of night flights.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has already decided to allow, on a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement, a private firm to run the BPIA.
Three airports in the country already have such a setup.
The DOTr and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) have certified Aboitiz’s original proponent status, subject to review and final approval by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board.
The Aboitiz InfraCapital teamed up with Irish airport operations company, International, for the operation, maintenance, future upgrade and expansion of the Bohol-Panglao and Laguindingan airports, according to Transportation Undersecretary Ruben Reynoso.
International is the global airport operations management subsidiary of Ireland’s Dublin Airport Authority.
Also during the DOTr budget hearing, the hour-by-hour and day-by-day fluctuation of airline ticket costs was questioned by Chatto and other congressmen.