Transportation and aviation authorities in the country have given the Bohol Panglao International Airport the green light to operate 16 hours as current deals for additional flights expect good result.

The airport will gradually accommodate more day and night flights until its operation can go full blast in 24 hours.

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Sec. Arthur Tugade informed Rep. Edgar Chatto that the DOTr and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) already approved the airport’s yet 16-hour operation on August 15.

On-going negotiations with airline companies for additional flights include posible direct international flights that will not pass by Manila.

The DOTr and CAAP approved the 16-hour operation of the new Bohol airport based on their assessment of the current conditions and needs.

Chatto raised to Tugade several essential concerns on the operation of the airport and related issues during the congressional hearing on the proposed DOTr budget for 2020 on Thursday.

Operational time can be extended when air traffic will increase, the congressman was further told.

Additional cost is actually incurred everytime an operation hour is added.

Cost is always considered to determine the viability of night operation.

Also, the DOTr already decided to allow, on public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement, a private firm for the operation and maintenance (O&M) of the BPIA.

The government has adopted the policy of separating the functions of the airport regulator (CAAP) and the airport operator (private).

Three airports in the country are already in this setup and Panglao airport will be the fourth, with its operation, management and maintenance by a private firm which is likely Aboitiz.

DOTr Usec. Ruben Reynoso said CAAP will still operate the airport 16 hours while the O&M contract award to the private operator has yet yet to done.

The DOTr and CAAP already certified Aboitiz’s original proponent status subject to the review by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

There will be no significant difference between the terminal fees of CAAP-managed and privately-managed airport terminals since they are regulated by the DOTr and CAAP.

Even when the private concessionaire handles the O&M, flight operations continue to be with CAAP.

Meanwhile, the hour-by-hour and day-by-day fluctuation of airline ticket costs will be reviewed by the Civil Aviation Board (CAB) under the DOTr.

Chatto and other congressmen questioned the airline fares which change continually. (Ven rebo Arigo)