Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. expects to obtain the National Economic and Development Authority’s approval to operate two regional airports before the end of 2019.
AEV chief finance officer Manuel Lozano said in a recent interview the company’s unsolicited proposals to upgrade, expand, operate and maintain the Bohol-Panglao International Airport and Laguindingan Airport in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental were being reviewed by the Neda board.
He said that once approved, the Swiss Challenge for the unsolicited bids would proceed.
“We are hoping that we will be able to get Neda approval and do the Swiss Challenge before the end of the year. But we want to give them enough time to evaluate these projects,” Lozano said.
Both the Bohol and Laguindingan airport projects earlier secured original proponent status from the government.
Neda is now evaluating the proposals. They will then be subjected to a Swiss Challenge where other parties can submit competing bids that the original proponent will have the right to match.
Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc., the infrastructure arm of the Aboitiz Group, earlier teamed up with Irish airport operator Daa International for the future upgrade, expansion, operations and maintenance of the Bohol-Panglao and Laguindingan Airports.
AIC said the proposed improvements to the Bohol-Panglao International and Laguindingan airports would result in an efficient passenger flow within the airport terminals, a better retail and dining experience and increased flight destinations with reduced congestion at the terminals.
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, based on statistics from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.
Two million passengers passed through this airport last year.
Meanwhile, the Bohol-Panglao International Airport is bracing for a similar congestion level. According to airport consultant ICF, tourism in Bohol posted an annual growth rate of 25.2 percent from 2011 to 2017 and 30 percent from 2016 to 2017 as Bohol attracted 1.3 million tourists. Panglao is the most popular destination, welcoming 704,000 tourists in 2017.
AIC proposed to invest P11 billion for the upgrade of Bohol-Panglao Airport and P48 billion for the modernization of the Laguindingan Airport.