By Filane Mikee Cervantes

NAIA Terminal 3 (file photo)

MANILA – A total of PHP7.5 billion has been allocated in the 2024 national budget for the modernization and expansion of the country’s aviation hubs in time for the projected full recovery of global air traffic in 2025, a lawmaker said on Wednesday.

In a statement, Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. said about 22 airports would receive fresh funding under the national government’s 2024 Aviation Transport Infrastructure Program.

“The new funding allocations per airport are itemized in the 2024 General Appropriations Law,” Campos said. “All told, Congress has earmarked PHP7.5 billion this year for the construction, rehabilitation, and improvement of various airports and navigational facilities, including the procurement of equipment.”

He noted that the country’s main international gateway, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), will receive the bulk of the budget at PHP1.64 billion for a new Communications, Navigation and Surveillance – Air Traffic Management (CNS-ATM) System.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) have earlier emphasized the need to upgrade the country’s “outdated” air traffic navigation system after the air traffic control glitch that resulted in hundreds of canceled and delayed flights affecting thousands of passengers at NAIA on Jan. 1, 2023.

Campos said a total of PHP1.5 billion has been allotted for the expansion and development of the airport on Pag-asa Island.

According to him, other airports that would get allocations this year include the Kalibo International Airport at PHP581 million; Laoag International Airport, PHP500 million; Bukidnon Airport, PHP320 million; Puerto Princesa Airport, PHP300 million; New Zamboanga International Airport, PHP300 million; Central Mindanao (M’lang) Airport, PHP300 million; Catbalogan Airport, PHP250 million; Daet Airport, PHP225 million; and New Manila International Airport, PHP200 million.

The 2024 budget will also finance the development of the Candon Airport, PHP200 million; Borongan Airport, PHP200 million; Iloilo International Airport, PHP190 million; Tuguegarao Airport, PHP150 million; Bacon Airport, PHP100 million; Maasin Airport, PHP100 million; Tandag Airport, PHP100 million; Jolo Airport, PHP100 million; Mati Airport, PHP100 million; Surigao Airport, PHP80 million; and Vigan Airport, PHP70 million.

“Of course, we are also counting on the spending to enhance the overall travel experience of passengers,” Campos said. (PNA)