Monday, July 4, 2016

Caticlan Airport Construction Continues, SMC Plans Bridge to Boracay

Although construction of the Caticlan Airport runway extension has been completed, the new gateway to Boracay Island remains far from completion. Work on the airport's new apron seems nearly complete, while construction of the brand new terminal building has yet to begin.

caticlan airport
Image Source: CAZA
According to Ramon Ang, President of San Miguel Corporation, which controls the Caticlan Airport through its affiliate TransAire Development Holdings, the upgrade of the existing airport has been completed, while the new terminal is all the remains to be constructed. 

caticlan airport
Image Source: CAZA
In an interview with the Philippine Inquirer, Ang stated that, "The Caticlan Airport could already accommodate big jets." He added that a temporary terminal is being set up that would be able to accommodate the increased volume of passengers travelling through Caticlan. The temporary terminal is expected to be completed within the next six months. 

caticlan airport
Image Source: CAZA
A number of local and foreign carriers are already lining up to shift their A320 and Boeing 737 flights to Caticlan Airport. According to the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, this may lead to over capacity in the Manila-Caticlan market, while Kalibo Airport may suffer from under-capacity as airlines switch flights to Caticlan.

caticlan airport
Image Source: Skyscraper City Forums
In addition to the construction of a larger airport passenger terminal and the extension of the runway, San Miguel Corporation plans a complete rehabilitation that includes improvement of road networks, air traffic control aids, and an upgrade of the airport facilities. It is envisioned for Caticlan Airport to be on par with some of the best airports in the region. 

caticlan airport
Image Source: Skyscraper City Forums
However, San Miguel Corporation recently unveiled an even bigger plan for Caticlan as it proposed to construct a 1.9 kilometre toll bridge that would connect the tiny community with the world-famous Boracay Island, which is presently only accessible by boat. 

According to Ang, the project would cost an estimated $100 million at current exchange rates and it would be up to the local government unit to award the contract to a private sector firm. "We proposed the idea for them to bid out," said Ang. "For us, it's okay if there are other bidders."

Ang believes that the new project would enhance connectivity and convenience for tourists. "They can all live in Caticlan and enjoy the view in Boracay, which is now so congested and has a lot of sewage problems." Ang intends to develop Caticlan to help decongest Boracay Island, while also providing services such as a hospital, retail complex, convention centre, hotels, and restaurants. "It would be possible for tourists to find cheaper accommodations in Caticlan," added Ang. "We think what's best is if everybody will stay and eat in Caticlan, and then go to Boracay to enjoy the beach."

The Caticlan Airport upgrade is expected to transform Boracay into a more affordable holiday destination as the increase in regional and domestic flights drives down airfare costs. But not everyone is convinced that this expansion is good for the community or the environment. 

Caticlan residents have asked the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and San Miguel Corporation to provide a clearer picture on how they intend to expand the airport and surrounding area. In an interview with the Manila Bulletin, an official from Barangay Caticlan revealed that the Department of Transportation and TransAire Development Holdings have yet to present an actual master development plan for expansion of the airport. 


caticlan airport
Image Source: CAZA
Although the last round of inter-agency dialogue took place in March of this year, no concrete answers have been provided to the estimated 8,000 local residents that will be heavily affected by the airport's expansion. 

A protest was held last year over the low amount that was offered by TransAire for residential lands that will be impacted by expansion of the airport. According to a barangay official, low-income families were left with no choice but to accept the low payment of P1,000 per square metre when market values ranged from P5,000 to P10,000 per square meter. 

Barangay Caticlan residents have expressed frustration with the "unjust" manner in which the Caticlan Airport expansion has been implemented. Residents claim that the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines fast-tracked the process to allow TransAire to begin the initial phase of expansion. 

According to residents, no public hearing ever took place on what seems to be a non-inclusive development project that is likely to leave poor families behind. "Families have already been evicted and have become squatters to give way to the airport expansion project," said Barangay Caticlan Secretary Hazel De Los Reyes.

2 comments :

  1. Hey Ang, what about planning Mabini to Tingloy bridge in Batangas? That's also good. And also, use pontoon bridge concept to maintain biodiversity of sea between Mabini and Tingloy.

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