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$300-m Boracay job bared

by Jenniffer B. Austria
[ manilastandardtoday.com ] June 27, 2011

BORACAY ISLAND—Conglomerate San Miguel Corp. is investing $300 million to develop Caticlan Airport, the gateway to Boracay, the country’s most famous beach resort island.

San Miguel president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said in an interview during the inauguration of the newly renovated Caticlan Airport Saturday that the company would build a new terminal that could accommodate 3 million tourists a year, up significantly from the old terminal’s capacity of about 700,000.

San Miguel, through its majority-owned unit TransAire Development Holdings Corp., plans to put a world-class terminal and extend the existing runway from 950 meters to 2,500 meters to accommodate wide-bodied aircraft owned by domestic and international carriers.

Caticlan airport today can accommodate only turbo propeller airplanes due to the short runway.

Ang said San Miguel will also build a 500-room budget hotel, a jetty port that could accommodate two large international cruise liners, a convention center with capacity of 25,000 people and a shopping mall housing several retail shops and restaurants.

Ang said he hopes to complete all development in the two to three years. San Miguel initially plans to invest P2.5 billion to develop the Caticlan Airport before building other facilities into the airport to attract more people.

San Miguel hopes that airfare from Manila to Boracay will go down to as low as P1,500 per person with more flights available. A roundtrip airfare to Boracay could reach as high as P16,000 per person during the peak season.

Meanwhile, with the renovation of the Caticalan Airport, the terminal now has a conveyor belt, x-ray machines, computerized check-in counters, LCD television sets, lounges and air-conditioning units.

TransAire installed floodlights and runway lights, which will allow night landing, leading to a 30-percent increase in terminal capacity.

The airport has experienced rapid growth in passenger volumes in the last decade due to the increased popularity of Boracay among local and foreign tourists. More than 700,000 tourists pass through Caticlan Airport each year.

A dominant player in the food and beverage industry, San Miguel has been diversifying into high-growth industries, including power, mining, oil refining, telecommunications and infrastructure.
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