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Bigger Caticlan airport on track

San Miguel Corp. is on track to open a world-class and bigger airport in Caticlan, the gateway to the resort island of Boracay, by December 2016, the company’s top executive said Wednesday.

San Miguel president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said the P8-billion project included a modern airport terminal occupying an 80,000-square-meter lot that would have 12 air bridges.

“The new terminal should be running by December 2016,” Ang said.

He said the length of the runway was also being expanded to 1,900 meters from 950 meters while its width was being expanded to 45 meters from 20 meters in a bid to accommodate wide-body aircraft.

“It will be able to handle jet Airbus 321 carrying 240 passenger or Boeing 737-900. It can also handle international flights from Japan, Korea, Indonesia Malasyia, Singapore and China,” Ang said.

Prior to the upgrade, Caticlan airport could only accommodate turbo propeller airplanes given its short runway.

Aside from expansion of the runway and the construction of a new airport terminal, San Miguel also plans to build a hotel, a shopping mall and a convention center that will be connected in the new airport terminal.

The Caticalan airport recorded a rapid growth in passenger volume over the past few years due to increased popularity of Boracay among local and foreign tourists.

A dominant player in the food and beverage industry, San Miguel has been diversifying into high-growth industries, including power, mining, oil refining, telecommunications and infrastructure.

Aside from the Caticalan airport, San Miguel is also interested in other airport projects in the country.

Unit San Miguel Holdings Corp. tapped Incheon International Airport Corp. to create SMHC-IIAC Airport Corp. that will bid for the P108.2 billion bundled airport project of Transportation Department.

The five provincial airports included in the bundle are the P20.26-billion Bacolod-Silay International Airport and the P30.4-billion Iloilo International Airport under package 1, and the P14.62-billion Laguindingan Airport, P2.34-billion New Bohol (Panglao) Airport and P40.57-billion Davao International Airport under package 2.

The conglomerate also said it would submit to the next administration a proposal to build a P50-billion new runway and airport terminal in the existing Ninoy Aquino International Airport complex in Parañaque City.

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