The improvement of the Iloilo International Airport in the town of Cabatuan, Iloilo province  may begin early next year.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is targeting to award the project to a private partner in the first quarter of 2025.

“The DoTr shares the desire of the people of Iloilo City and the province for a renewed, modernized, expanded, sustainable, and future-proof Iloilo Airport,” DoTr Assistant Secretary for Aviation and Airports Enrique Antonio Esquivelll said in a letter addressed to Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas

“We likewise acknowledged the importance of a revitalized [airport] to sustaining economic growth and activity in the city and province of Iloilo and the greater Region VI,” he added.

Prime Asset Ventures Inc. (PAVI), the holding company of the group of businessman Manuel Villar, was the first to submit an unsolicited proposal (USP) on the public-private partnership (PPP) for the operation, maintenance, and expansion of the airport.

According to Esquivelll, PAVI’s USP is under a negotiation period for 80 days and can be extended up to 150 days since it started on April 26.

Once the negotiations are completed, the documents will then be submitted to the DOTr Secretary and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Board for approval before proceeding with the “comparative challenge period.” 

In a statement, Treñas expressed delight over the developments on the privatization of the airport.

“I am happy the interest of the Villar Group is now moving forward. I have always believed that PPP is the way to go for certain areas in our governance and the airports are one of them,” he said.

“The Aboitiz and Megaworld groups are also interested. The procedures under the new PPP law will have to be followed. Hopefully, as indicated in the letter of DOTr by first quarter of 2025 the whole PPP process would have been completed. I support it 120%,” he added.IMT