The Bicol Regional Project Monitoring Committee (RPMC) conducted a project facilitation session (PFS) for the Bicol International Airport Development Project on January 12, 2022 via video conference, to discuss pending issues with regard to the operations of the airport.
The airport was inaugurated by President Rodrigo Duterte on October 7, 2021 and started domestic flight operations on October 8. Currently, the airport is serving seven daily roundtrip flights from Manila by the Philippine Airlines Express and Cebupacific Air. Likewise, it can accommodate bigger aircraft like the Airbus and night flights upon request.
Although the airport is operational, the passenger terminal building, runway, and most of the landside buildings and facilities are not yet fully completed. As of January 5, 2022, Package 2A, which involves the construction of landside facilities (site development and other buildings), is 98.4 percent completed. Package 2B, which involves the construction of the passenger terminal building and runway completion, is 93.8 percent completed and is targeted for completion on March 31, 2022.
One issue discussed during the PFS was the obstruction posed by the Kimantong Hill on one end of the runway, and by the transmission lines and towers of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) on the other end of the runway. These obstructions limit the full utilization of the entire runway length of 2.5 kilometers. Hence, the airport cannot accommodate bigger aircraft like Boeing 777.
The Department of Transportation has committed to include the budget requirement for the relocation of the NGCP transmission lines and towers in its FY 2023 budget proposal and push for its inclusion in the FY 2023 General Appropriations Act. With regard to the Kimantong Hill, the Civil Aviations Authority of the Philippines –Aerodrome Development Management Service will be requested to present the findings of its survey on the obstructions to the flight path. The survey will serve as reference in determining succeeding actions to eliminate the obstruction posed by Kimantong Hill.