DAVAO CITY – Davao-based Udenna Infrastructure Corporation is bullish on the important contribution of the city to the aviation sector, being the hub for meetings, incentives, conference, exhibitions (MICE) and a tourism destination in the South.
Engr. Manuel Jamonir, assistant vice president for operations of Udenna Infrastructure Corporation, said Wednesday that Davao City's role in the aviation sector lies in developing more international routes.
Jamonir noted that the Davao airport lags behind in terms of international traffic but hopes the city will become the next top key player in aviation once its airport will be expanded and developed.
As of now, he said the country's top airports with international traffic are the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila and those in Cebu; Clark, Pampanga; and Kalibo in Aklan.
Jamonir said the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) is already working on stronger connectivity, beginning with the return of the Davao–Manado (Indonesia) direct flight. He said the possible reopening of the Davao-Manado route is now under discussion.
The Davao-Manado route used to be served by Bouraq Airlines until it was suspended years ago because of low passenger load factor.
Jamonir said the Department of Tourism (DoT) on Monday already collaborated with all tourism stakeholders to work together to promote Davao. He also underscored the importance of the basic elements of an eco-system from airport to inflight, transit, and motivation.
During Wednesday’s Habi at Kape at the Abreeza Mall, Jamonir presented Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp. (CLC) plan for the Davao airport.
Chelsea Holdings is an Udenna firm, which submitted an unsolicited proposal to undertake the PHP48.8-billion expansion and operation of the Francisco Bangoy International Airport or the Davao International Airport.
Jamonir said Udenna already received an assessment from the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) on its bid.
“We are working on our response,” he said, noting that the required response from Udenna was on Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines-related concerns.
Two weeks ago, Udenna sought the endorsement of the City Council in its bid to undertake the airport project at PHP48.8 billion under the Public Private Partnership (PPP).
“The process will take longer. The city council will have to conduct hearing,” Jamonir told reporters. City Council will have to review and endorse the project to the DOTr, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), and the Regional Development Council (RDC).
Jamonir said the PHP48.8 billion is the nominal cost under private financing--at no cost to the government. The project will include the landside and airside developments, reconfiguration and expansion of the passenger terminal building, parallel taxiway, and new airport technologies to enhance the passenger experience.
“It is an unsolicited PPP proposal so it has to follow the certain process under the BOT (Build Operate Transfer) law. We submitted the full proposal last year and we received the original proponent status,” Jamonir said.
Jamonir stressed that “if you have the original proponent status, the government will only talk to you and second, you have the right to match during the Swiss challenge”.
Currently, Jamonir said the existing airport can accommodate four million passengers based on their feasibility and technical analysis. Udenna seeks to increase its passenger volume by up to 15 million in 30 years. (PNA)