The tenders for six airport projects in the Philippines, which would cost approximately PHP116bn ($2.6bn), will be offered next year under a public-private partnership (PPP) scheme to help upgrade the country’s infrastructure.

Investors have been invited by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to pre-qualify and bid for contracts to develop, operate and maintain airports in important cities and tourist hubs across central and southern Philippines.

The DOTC said in a statement: "The fact that the traffic at these airports has either exceeded their current design capacities or is nearing the design capacity levels, coupled with the anticipated influx of growing number of domestic and international passengers in years to come, make the fast and proactive development of these airports crucial."

"The country currently attracts close to six million tourists a year and wants to increase that number to ten million foreign tourists by 2016."

The country currently attracts close to six million tourists a year and wants to increase that number to ten million foreign tourists by 2016.

The contracts that would be up for bidding would involve the expansion and upgrade of the Davao International Airport for PHP40.6bn, the Iloilo International Airport for PHP30.4bn, the Bacolod-Silay International Airport for PHP20.3bn and the Laguindingan Airport for PHP14.6bn.

According to data from the DOTC, a total of 7.7 million passengers were handled by the four airports last year.

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Upon completion of the construction, the operations and maintenance for the PHP4.6bn New Bohol Airport and the PHP5.8bn Puerto Princesa Airport will be turned over to the private sector.

The DOTC also said that two or more of the airports could be merged by the government to make them more attractive to investors.

According to a Reuters report, San Miguel, JG Summit Holdings, Megawide Construction and Aboitiz Equity Ventures have expressed interest to bid for the airport projects in the provinces to diversify their revenues.