10 Regional Airports are Up for Sale, Says Transport Secretary

The country’s transport secretary points out that existing airport infrastructure will not be enough as the air travel industry expands to accommodate the growing market.

Transportation has been identified as an integral part of post-pandemic economic recovery and a pre-condition for the recovery of other sectors, according to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime J. Bautista in his meeting with the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) General Membership.

He likewise reveals government plans for the tourism industry as a whole, including putting ten of the country’s regional airports up for sale as part of the government’s efforts to privatize them. According to Secretary Bautista, the following regional airports are up for privatization:

  • Bacolod
  • Bicol
  • Bohol-Panglao
  • Busuanga
  • Davao
  • Iloilo
  • Kalibo
  • Laguindingan
  • Puerto Princesa
  • Siargao

Meanwhile, four airports—specifically those in Dumaguete, Masbate, Siargao, and Zamboanga—will be improved and transferred to new locations.

How About NAIA?

Secretary Bautista has likewise disclosed that the government plans to privatize the operation and maintenance of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). In fact, Manila Bulletin reports that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will be providing technical assistance in identifying the best-qualified operator for NAIA.

Secretary Bautista has also revealed that there are private sector proponents who have already expressed interest in operating and maintaining the airport’s four terminals and their respective facilities. 

Air Travel Industry in the Philippines in Numbers

According to the Manila Bulletin, there are a total of 90 airports all over the Philippines. However, only half of them operate commercial flights. And out of the 45 airports that cater to commercial flights, only nine of them are international airports. 

With the International Air Transport Association (IATA) expecting a return to profitability for the global airline industry this year, Statista projects that revenue in the flights’ segment will reach $6.42 billion (approximately PHP 358.68 billion).  

Given the expected spike in air travel this year, it is crucial that the country’s airports are able to keep up with it as they play a massive role in the recovery of numerous sectors post-pandemic, particularly in the tourism industry