Tugade landing on P5-B Bicol International Airport today

Published July 30, 2021, 7:52 AM

by Emmie V. Abadilla

The P5-bIllion, 25-years delayed Bicol International Airport (BAI) is on track for this year’s opening and to prove it, Transportation Secretary Art Tugade will land on its runway today, July 30.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) last night stated he “intends to land on the airport whether it is finished or not.”
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This “will serve as a challenge and an encouragement for the gateway’s builders to keep up the pace,” Tugade stressed.
He made the same statement, to “land in Bicol International Airport finished or unfinished” this July, during his inspection of the airport two months ago.
Secretary Tugade will proceed to conduct an inspection of the airport’s facilities shortly after landing.
The BIA, the “country’s most scenic gateway” with the iconic Mayon Volcano for its backdrop, will be operational before the end of this year, he pledged.
The gateway is expected to boost air traffic in the region and accommodate a total of 2 million passengers annually.
The BIA 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.
The DOTr fast tracked the airport’s construction, employing 755 workers despite the COVID-19 pandemic, with 1,100 more indirect jobs awaiting locals once the airport becomes operational.
Meanwhile, the two contractors of the airport project committed to complete all civil works by end of next month.
As of July 28, 2021, the BIA’s construction accomplishment rate was at 89%. This constitutes Package 2A and Package 2B of the project.
Package 2A is 96% accomplished and is expected to be fully completed by August 30, 2021, subject to further necessary works after inspection by the DOTr and by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
Included under Package 2A are the construction of the airport’s air traffic control tower, administration building, crash fire rescue building, and cargo terminal building, among others.
Package 2B is at 86% completion. This covers the construction of the BIA’s passenger terminal building (PTB) which is now 90.5% complete.
Also included under Package 2B is the extension of the airport’s runway, which is now 75% finished.
The BIA is slated to be technically operational for day operations by October 7, 2021, and to be night-rated by November 4, 2021.
 
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