MANILA, Philippines - A South Korean joint venture has bagged the contract to design and build the Puerto Princesa airport in Palawan.
The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) on Tuesday said it has awarded the $82.9-million design-and-build contract for the Puerto Princesa airport to a joint venture of Kumho Industrial Co. Ltd. and GS Engineering & Construction joint Venture.
The new airport is expected to be fully operational by the first quarter of 2017.
"The eco-tourism showcase that is Puerto Princesa, as well as the rest of Palawan, will soon have a modern, world-class airport which we can be as proud of as the destination itself. With beaches and other natural wonders attracting throngs of visitors from all over the globe, it will finally have a gateway that is befitting of its stature," Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya said.
Under the contract, the Kumho-GS joint venture will start with the design component by the third quarter of the year. Construction of civil works at the site will begin by the fourth quarter of 2014.
The project includes the construction of a new passenger terminal building, cargo terminal building, apron, connecting taxiways, a new air navigation system, and other support facilities.
Kumho-GS will have around 30 months to complete the project. The DOTC expects the airport to be fully operational by first quarter of 2017.
The new Puerto Princesa airport will have an annual capacity of about 2 million passengers. The airport's current terminal had 1.35 million passengers in 2013, above its current capacity of 350,000 a year.
"Apart from boosting our tourism sector, this project will also generate jobs, particularly in the infrastructure sector. Overall, the estimate is up to 1,400 total new jobs during construction alone," Abaya said.
The project is funded mainly through a $71.612 million loan from Korean Export Import Bank (KEXIM). It is payable in 40 years, inclusive of a ten-and-a-half-year grace period, at a concessional interest rate of 0.1% per annum.
Since the project is funded by official development assistance from South Korea, the bidding for the project was limited to Korean companies.
Puerto Princesa airport serves as the gateway to Palawan where the Underground River is located. The Puerto Princesa Underground River was named part of the New Seven Wonders of the World and is expected to attract 1.2 million tourists by 2016 and two million tourists by 2025.