Aboitiz InfraCapital ready to take over Bohol-Panglao, Laguindingan airports
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - September 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The infrastructure business unit of the Aboitiz Group is hoping to start within the first half of next year the take over of two regional airports which it vowed to improve passenger flow, reduce congestion, and upgrade retail and dining experience.

“Maybe when you follow the timeline, it won’t take until the second half of next year. There is still the Swiss challenge, so we have to go through that then there is still an evaluation,” Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc. chief operating officer Cosette Canilao said.

“I think the directions from the government and the Department of Transportation is quite clear right now, so it’s only a matter for the process to take its course. We’re hoping for the soonest possible time that our projects will be approved. That is also what the government wants,” she said.

Aboitiz InfraCapital is proposing to upgrade, expand, operate and maintain the Bohol-Panglao International Airport and Laguindingan Airports.

The DOTr last month endorsed the company’s Bohol-Panglao unsolicited proposal to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)’s Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) after finding the revised offer aligned with the concession terms of the Clark International Airport.

Canilao said Aboitiz has also submitted to the DOTr last month a revised offer for the Laguindingan Airport.

“We’ve submitted. We patterned it after the Clark O&M. I think the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines already endorsed it to the DOTr, and DOTr is in the process of evaluating it,” she said.

“We’ve been in constant communication with DOTr so everything looks okay,” Canilao said.

Aboitiz InfraCapital has been granted original proponent status for both regional airport proposals which will give it the upper hand once a Swiss challenge is undertaken for the respective projects.

To get to the Swiss challenge process, however, Aboitiz Infra’s unsolicited offers have to secure approvals from both the NEDA-ICC and the NEDA board.

Transportation Undersecretary for aviation Manuel Tamayo earlier told The STAR that the agency hopes to clear and endorse to the NEDA-ICC all the other unsolicited proposals for regional airports within this month, or by next month at the latest.

Aboitiz InfraCapital said its proposed improvements to the Bohol-Panglao and Laguindingan airports would result in efficient passenger flow within the airport terminals, a better retail and dining experience, and increased flight destinations with reduced congestion at the terminals.

It said passenger traffic at Laguindingan Airport has been above the airport’s design capacity of 1.6 million passengers per year from the time the airport began operations in 2013, while the Bohol-Panglao International Airport is bracing for similar congestion level.

Aboitiz InfraCapital has teamed up with Irish airport operations company daa International, the global airport operations management subsidiary of Ireland’s Dublin Airport Authority, for the potential takeover of the Bohol-Panglao and Laguindingan airports.

“They will be our partner in operating the airports. We’re preparing the team. We’re just preparing so that if ever the process will be shortened, we have the organization to immediately take over,” Canilao said.

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