The Bicol International Airport (BIA) will be operational before the year ends, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced on Friday (July 30).

According to the DOTr, the airport, which has been delayed for over 25 years, will open partially on October 7. The site will also be night-rated to accommodate flights after sunset, specifically on November 4.

In a Facebook post, Transportation Secretary Art Tugade shared that the airport’s overall construction rate is now at 90 percent.

The project is composed of two packages – Package 2A and 2B. 

Package 2A is now 96 percent finished and consists of the airport’s traffic control tower, cargo terminal building, crash fire rescue building, and others. This part is scheduled to wrap up by August 31. 

Meanwhile, Package 2B has an overall completion rate of 86 percent and consists of the airport’s passage terminal building (PTB), runway, and other facilities.

The PTB is already 90.5 percent constructed, while the extension of the airport’s runway is 75 percent complete. Both are expected to finish by August this year. 

Once fully operational, BIA is expected to accommodate 2 million passengers annually and will support the economy, tourism, and employment in the region.

“Sa pagbubukas nito, inaasahang makatutulong ang BIA tungo sa mas komportable at kumbinyenteng byahe ng mga pasahero, pagpapalago ng ekonomiya at pagpapalawig ng turismo sa rehiyon ng Bicol at buong bansa, at pagbibigay ng kabuhayan para sa mga Bikolano,” Tugade said. 

“Sa katunayan, sa kabila ng pandemiya, mayroong 755 na construction workers ang nabigyan ng trabaho sa pagtatayo ng paliparan. Samantala, 1,100 indirect jobs naman ang naghihintay sa ating mga kababayan sa pagsisimula ng operasyon nito,” he added. 

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Image credit: DOTr