ABOITIZ InfraCapital Inc. (AIC), the Aboitiz Group’s infrastructure subsidiary, has secured original proponent status (OPS) from the Department of Transportation (DoTr) for its proposed operations and maintenance (O&M) deal for the New Bohol International Airport on Panglao Island.

In a disclosure on Friday, AIC President and Chief Executive Officer Sabin M. Aboitiz said that with the OPS, the company was moving forward in providing “a long-term solution for the operations, maintenance and future expansions of the” airport.

AIC’s O&M proposal is part of the group’s P148-billion project to expand, operate and maintain four major gateways in the Visayas and Mindanao: Bohol, Iloilo International Airport in Iloilo province, Bacolod-Silay Airport in Negros Occidental province and Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental province.

According to Aboitiz, New Bohol could boost tourism in the region. The air hub is expected to accommodate about 2 million passengers annually, compared with the Tagbilaran airport’s 800,000.

The disclosure came a month after the DoTr announced that New Bohol would be inaugurated in October, three years ahead of its original targeted completion date.

The airport is 93.78-percent complete as of September 10, the department told The Manila Times in a text message.

Once finished, the airport’s runway can accommodate seven planes at any time, including wide-body ones for international flights.

The department is touting the air facility as the “Green Gateway to the World,” as it “will be the country’s first eco-airport” and is expected “to be held to the highest standards of green and sustainable structures.”

“The airport will primarily use natural ventilation. Solar panels will also be installed on the passenger terminal building roof, which can cover [about]one-third of the airport’s passenger terminal building energy requirement,” it said last month.

According to the DoTr, the terminal building measures 13,884 square meters, and is equipped with three boarding bridges and a baggage handling system.

Shares of Aboitiz Equity Ventures, the group’s holding company, ended down 1.90 percent to close at P49 each on Friday.

SEPTEMBER 29, 2018