Bautista: DOTr improving inter-island connectivity through airports

Inter-island connectivity will only be achieved with the establishment of more airports as it will guarantee improved accessibility and efficient mobility throughout the country, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said Thursday.

"Transforming our airports—through expansion, upgrade, and rehabilitation—is not only at the core of this administration's thrust on infrastructure development but also crucial to connecting the country to the rest of the world," Secretary Bautista said during the 2023 Aviation Summit.

Secretary Bautista stressed that these airports must adapt to technological innovation without sacrificing the safety of passengers.

During the summit, the transport chief updated aviation stakeholders on the Department of Transportation's (DOTr) projects in the sector, especially the modernization of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after the airport's pre-bid conference with prospective concessionaires last week.

Once NAIA's privatization is complete under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme, the airport's passenger capacity will increase, as well as its air traffic movement, according to Secretary Bautista.

Also, part of the DOTr's aviation projects are the New Manila International Airport and Sangley Point Airport in Cavite.

Efforts to digitize the NAIA are also in the works to enable real-time data exchange between aircraft, ground-handling operators, and airport systems.

Secretary Bautista also cited the Civil Aeronautics Board's (CAB) perspective that Philippine aviation is "ripe for strategic investments in airport development and operation; maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO); and PPP in airport development.

He also added several developments in the Clark International Airport (CRK), Bicol International Airport (BIA), and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

Secretary Bautista also tackled the improvements at the Bohol-Panglao International Airport, Zamboanga International Airport, General Santos International Airport, Virac Airport, Puerto Princesa Airport, Ormoc and Calbayog Airports, Dumaguete and Catarman Airports, Butuan, and Camiguin Airports.

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