Bicol International Airport (BIA) in Daraga town in the Albay province of the Philippines, has officially opened after 11 years of delay.
BIA is the first international airport in the south Manila region.
The airport, which is presented as the country’s ‘most scenic getaway’ with the iconic Mayon Volcano in the backdrop, has been inaugurated by the Philippines President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
The airport had gone through three groundbreaking ceremonies before June 2016.
Under the Duterte administration’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ programme, nonstop airport construction works were undertaken.
The BIA project saw an investment of $79.1m (PHP4bn).
Spread over 148ha of land area, BIA features an air traffic control (ATC) tower, 2,500m runway strip with night landing and take-off facilities.
It has passenger and cargo terminals, fire stations, a car park and other facilities.
During the construction phase, the BIA project created more than 700 direct jobs and is estimated to create 1,100 indirect employment opportunities once the airport becomes fully operational, according to the Philippines Department of Transportation (DOTr).
The new airport will initially begin with domestic operations from 8 October, with international operations slated to commence in November this year, after the review of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Once fully operational, BIA will be able to handle approximately two million passengers annually.
The new airport will replace the Legazpi Domestic Airport when it reaches full operational capacity.