By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 20, 2014 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) will start work on the Boracay airport within the first half of the year to allow the country’s seventh busiest airport to accommodate larger aircraft amid the growing number of tourists to the world-renowned beach island.
In its disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, SMC said the extension of the runway of the Boracay airport, also known as Godofredo P. Ramos Airport, is on schedule as preparatory work at the site are ongoing.
The company said construction is targeted to start within the first half and preparatory work for the new terminal is scheduled to proceed in the fourth quarter of the year.
“Once the project is complete by 2016, the Boracay airport will be able to accommodate larger aircraft, boosting tourism not just to the country’s top tourist destination, but also to the rest of the Visayas region,” SMC said.
Data showed that tourist arrivals in Boracay Island in Aklan jumped 13 percent to 1.363 million last year from 1.206 million in 2012.
SMC has a 99.72 percent interest in Trans Aire Development Holdings Corp. (TADHC) that holds a 25-year concession to operate the Boracay airport. It holds the exclusive rights, obligations and privileges to finance, design, construct, operate and maintain the airport by virtue of a concession agreement with the DOTC and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
TADHC is currently overseeing the modernization of the airport.
Long-term expansion projects involve the rehabilitation of the existing passenger terminal, the construction of a bigger international terminal, extension of the existing runway to 2,100 meters from 950 meters, improvement of the road network, and upgrading of airport facilities and air traffic control aids.
The project also has a commercial component that entails the development of a 16-hectare property beside the airport.