Business News: RDC OKs P219-M BACOLOD-SILAY AIRPORT EXPANSION
The proposed expansion of the Bacolod-Silay Airport in Silay City amounting to P219 million was approved by the Regional Development Council (RDC) - WesternVisayas in a meeting last Friday.
Silay City Mayor Jose Montelibano confirmed that the RDC approved and endorsed to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) the proposed expansion of the airport costing P194.4 million, and runway extension at P25 million for funding.
The expansion will start in the first quarter of 2013, he added.
Montelibano, who brought up the proposal to President Benigno Aquino III during his visit in Negros Occidental last May, said the President has already approved the proposal in principle. The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Negros Occidental, the Provincial Development Council, and the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Silay, had earlier endorsed the expansion of the Bacolod-Silay airport, based on the recommendation of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
The RDC Western Visayas - Infrastructure Development Committee chaired by Iloilo Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, said in a resolution, that the Bacolod-Silay airport is now the sixth busiest airport nationwide, in terms of passenger movement, and fifth in cargo movement, citing CAAP records.
CAAP records also show that the Bacolod-Silay Airport, which started commercial operation in January 2008, exceeded its project feasibility study projections in 2007 for passenger by nine percent, number of flights by 40 percent, and cargo by 18 percent.
Currently, the Bacolod-Silay Airport caters to 19 flights a day, Montelibano said, and with the expansion, more flights, particularly international ones, are expected in the airport.
The RDC resolution also states that, in order to address the growing passenger congestion, the airport passenger terminal building needs to be increased by 6,480 square meters to facilitate the expansion of the check-in arrival, and pre-departure areas and the installation of additional baggage handling system and boarding bridges.
Montelibano said that adding 500 meters to the airport runway will allow the landing of larger aircrafts, and address the rapidly increasing aircraft traffic. The RDC approval is a preliminary requirement for the airport expansion to be included in the priority plans for Negros Occidental and Western Visayas for the preparation of budgetary allocations.
Montelibano said the funding for the airport expansion will be included in next year’s budget, as the budget of CAAP this year is already allocated for the lighting requirements of other airports around the country. Meanwhile, the construction of the 10-kilometer access road to the Bacolod-Silay airport, which has a budget of P404 million, is now ongoing. The access road starts at the north tip of the Bacolod Circumferential Road, heading northward, traversing sugar cane plantation areas in Talisay City and then northward to Brgy. Bagtic in Silay City, the site of the airport. It consists of two lanes, six bridges, seven intersections, and drainage and slope protection structures.*