LEGAZPI CITY, Jan 20 (PIA) -- The construction of the Bicol International Airport (BIA), which is touted as the "Most Scenic Gateway" in the country, is moving at a fast pace per report of the Department of Transportation (DOTR).
The DOTR updated a 72.2% overall progress rate as the actual construction of the airport only started in Dec. 2016. As of Jan. 13 this year, , Package 2A of the BIA development project is now 88.2 percent complete.
DOTR Secretary Arturo Tugade stressed the importance of having continuous transport infrastructure developments such as the BIA, which will prove vital as the country starts recovering from the impact of COVID-19.
"It can't be denied that the aviation sector has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. That's why it is important that we finish the airport at the soonest possible time, as this will absolutely give the economy a boost," Tugade said.
Once completed, the BIA, which features the iconic Mayon Volcano as its magnificent backdrop, is expected to serve a total of 2 million airline passengers every year.
"Gusto ko matapos 'yan within the year dahil gusto na natin itong agad na mapakinabangan ng ating mga kababayan. (I really would like to finish the project within the year so that we can already utilize it as soon as possible). As we ready for take-off, it should be "all systems go," Tugade noted.
DOTR projected the new international airport to boost air traffic in the region amid the existing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Construction work in Package 2A is being handled by the Sunwest Construction and Development Corp. and covers the airport's landside facilities, such as the Administration Building, Air Traffic Control Building, Crash Fire Rescue Building, and the Maintenance Building.
Meanwhile, Package 2B of the airport project is now 49.5 percent complete. Package 2B which is being handled by the E.M. Cuerpo construction company, covers the construction of the passenger terminal building (PTB), taxiway, runway extension, and other site development works.
The DOTR report cited that the BIA initially started construction in 2008. However, development works were uncompleted until 2012. When the Duterte administration came in 2016, the airport's Package 2A and 2B projects were continued.
An important component of the Duterte Administration's "Build, Build, Build" Program, the BIA also intends to be instrumental in the transformation of Albay Province, and the rest of the Bicol Region, into a strong economic contender. (SAA/DOTR-PIA5/Albay)