Philippines opens eco-friendly international airport on Panglao Island
PANGLAO, Philippines, NNA – The Philippines on Tuesday opened Bohol-Panglao International Airport, its first “ecologically friendly” gateway, designed to help bring in more tourists and investment.
"This local airport will serve both international and local tourists who would like to experience the beauty of Panglao. It will also address our growing traffic problem and accelerate economic growth," President Rodrigo Duterte said at an inauguration ceremony.
The 8.9-billion-peso ($169 million) airport with 13,300 square meters of floor space replaces the now closed 850,000-sqm Tagbilaran International Airport at a different location on Panglao. The island is a popular tourism site in the central Philippine province of Bohol.
Passenger capacity is 2 million, up sharply from 800,000 at the old airport.
The new airport features solar panels on its passenger terminal roof, supplying 30 percent of electrical requirements, and a sewage treatment facility to ensure clean drainage for reuse or return to the environment.
The decades-old Tagbilaran Airport could no longer accommodate the rising number of passengers, prompting the government to fast-track construction of the new airport.
Mitsubishi Corp., Chiyoda Corp. and local subcontractor EEI Corp. began construction in 2015. Building is partly financed by a development loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency totaling 15.2 billion yen ($134 million), which also covers planned expansion of the runway and passenger terminal building.
Arthur Tugade, secretary of the Department of Transportation, told NNA that the airport authority plans to expand the current 2,500-meter runway to 2,800 meters in 2020 and to 3 kilometers two years later.
The runway can handle seven aircraft at a time, including commercial planes on long-haul international flights.
Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto expects tourist arrivals in the province to increase to a range of 1.5 million to 2 million from 1.1 million in 2017, and thus, investment in hotels, restaurants and information technology.
"That means a lot of revenue to create jobs and economic activity," the governor told NNA at the ceremony.
Bohol is among the top destinations for both domestic and foreign tourists because of its 1,268 perfectly symmetrical, haycock-shaped hills called the Chocolate Hills, as well as its pristine beaches.