Round-the-clock construction work on the P5-billion Bicol International Airport (BIA), supposed to have been completed this July, starts this month so the project can be completed within 2020, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade announced yesterday.
As of press time, the BIA is 66.61 percent completed.
The DOTr has identified the airport as one of its priority facilities and although work on the BIA is in full swing to date, construction will be done 24/7 starting this July.
The Bicol International Airport project started in 1996 (pre-feasibility study) and the government issued the Notice to Proceed in July, 2009.
It was supposed to have been finished in 2016.
However, construction work for the runway, taxiway, apron and fences were mostly uncompleted in 2012 and the project budget was reverted to the national treasury.
It was only when the Duterte Administration came in 2016 that the construction of Landside Facilities (Project 2A) began.
Runway Extension and the construction of the Passenger Terminal Building (Project 2B) started in 2017.
As of last month, Package 2A of the airport development project, which is handled by Sunwest
Construction, is already 81% complete.
This covers the landside facilities, such as the Administration Building, Air Traffic Control Building, Crash Fire Rescue Building, and the Maintenance Building.
Meanwhile, Package 2B, which covers the construction of the Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) and the runway, is 34% complete.
Its project contractor, E.M. Cuerpo committed to provide additional manpower to finish this priority facility within the year.
Hailed as the country’s ‘Most Scenic Gateway,’ the BIA features the iconic Mayon Volcano as backdrop.
Once completed, it will boost air traffic and tourist arrivals in Albay province and spur regional growth in the Bicol region, making it an economic powerhouse.
The continuous development of transport infrastructure is vital during this time, as the country recovers from the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Secretary Tugade stressed.
“The aviation sector has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. That’s why it is important that we finish the airport at the soonest possible time within this year, to boost the economy,” he reiterated.
The expedited construction work for the airport offsets the period of work suspension and delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DOTr Assistant Secretary for Procurement and Project Implementation Giovanni Lopez noted.
“Initially, we targeted to finish the airport by July this year. Unfortunately, we encountered delays. But we will work triple time and meet the deadline by the end of the year without sacrificing the quality,” he pledged.