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Bicol International Airport opens for commercial flights

Aviation Updates Philippines – The new Bicol International Airport (BIA) in Daraga, Albay has opened for commercial flights on Friday, marking a new milestone for the Philippine aviation industry. The airport is capable of handling 2.2 million passengers annually.

Photo from Philippine Airlines

The first commercial flight to land was PAL Express flight 2P-2923, a Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft. The 51 passengers aboard the maiden flight were welcomed with a traditional water cannon salute upon arrival at around 10 am.

“Philippine Airlines congratulates the Philippine government for the completion of the brand new gateway to the Bicol Region -- the Bicol International Airport (BIA) located in Daraga, Albay,” the airline said.

Meanwhile, low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific also transferred operations to the new airport on the same day. Cebu Pacific flies 11 times weekly between Manila and Legazpi.

“We have consistently maintained our presence at the Bicol region and we remain committed to continue supporting its growth. The new airport is a welcome development as this will enable us to increase passenger and cargo flights once demand picks up, and will consequently contribute to the region’s economic recovery,” said Xander Lao, Chief Commercial Officer at Cebu Pacific.

Philippine President Roa Rodrigo Duterte formally inaugurated the Php5 billion airport on Thursday, emphasizing that “[t]he completion of this world-class and state-of-the-art government infrastructure project brings us pride and joy as it will provide better transportation for our people who are traveling to and fro the Bicol region.”

The construction of a new international airport in the Bicol region was first realized in 2007 under the administration of then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. While the airport was initially slated for opening in 2014, various construction delays pushed the inauguration until yesterday. 

Dubbed as the ‘‘most scenic’’ airport in the country, BIA sits on a 200-hectare plateau not far from Mayon Volcano. The international airport has replaced the old Legazpi Domestic Airport located in Legazpi, Albay.

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