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$300M Caticlan upgrade to bring in 3M visitors

[ ] June 27, 2011
Visitors to Boracay are expected to hit as high as 3 million after TransAire Development Holdings Corp., a unit of San Miguel Corp., completes the expansion of the Caticlan airport and outlying properties.

Ramon S. Ang, San Miguel president, said the company has earmarked $300 million for the airport project and other tourism-related businesses.

The refurbished Caticlan terminal was inaugurated Sunday, a little over a year after San Miguel joined the original group that won the right to upgrade and develop the airport.

The original consortium was made up of George Yang, Rafael Puno, Lino Barte, and RPRP Ventures Management and Development Corp.

San Miguel bought 51 percent of the consortium in April last year.

Following the initial rehabilitation, the airport can now service night flights.

The work program calls for the lengthening of the runway to 2,500 meters from the current 950 meters and its widening by 60 meters to allow it to accommodate bigger aircraft, including those operating regionally.

Ang said the entry of bigger flight operators and the surge in passengers are expected to slash the cost of travel to Boracay to as low as P1,500 from the current P8,000.

President Aquino, in inaugurating the airport, said the expansion could generate P322.5 billion in combined revenues based on 3 million arrivals annually.

San Miguel plans to put up a 5,000-room businessman’s hotel, a convention center and a new jetty port which San Miguel will let locals manage, according to Ang.

The whole project is expected to be completed in two years.

Ang said San Miguel will also participate in the privatization of airports in Panglao, Bohol; Puerto Princesa City in Palawan; and, another one in Caraga which the government is preparing. – Ruelle Albert D. Castro

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