The Department of Transportation and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines inaugurated on Friday the newly-repaired passenger terminal building of the Virac Airport in Virac, Catanduanes.

From Left to Right: Catanduanes Gov. Joseph Cua, DOTr Sec. Arthur Tugade, CAAP Director General Jim Sydiongco, and Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento

Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade, DOTr Undersecretary for Aviation and Airports Manuel Antonio Tamayo, CAAP Director General Jim Sydiongco, Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, Philippine Airforce Commanding General Lt. Gen. Galileo Gerard Kintanar, Catanduanes Gov. Joseph Cua, and Virac Mayor Samuel Laynes, led the inauguration rites.

The terminal rehabilitation project began in January 2016, and involved turning the old design of the passenger terminal building into a modernized structure.

The P39-million project, whose initial completion date was on July 20, 2016, was suspended on May 23, 2016 after additional retrofitting works were considered necessary to provide stability for the old building originally built in 1963. It was suspended once again in December 2016 due to damages brought by Typhoon “Nina,” resulting in added P4.5 million in cost to repair the passenger terminal building.

The rehabilitation project was finally completed on May 24, 2018.

“When President Duterte appointed us in his Cabinet, he gave us one important directive— ensure that we make the Filipino comfortable. That is why we continue to build, build, and build. We build to enhance mobility and connectivity, not just to improve movement of transportation of people and goods, nor just to improve travel. We do this to enhance the Filipino’s way of life,” Tugade said.

With the inauguration of the rehabilitated passenger terminal building, Virac Airport will increase its capacity from 100 passengers to 300 passengers. The ground floor and second floor pre-departure areas have been expanded, and the arrival area in the ground floor has also been rehabilitated.

Gigmoto Mayor Ding Guerrero, Baras Mayor Chito Chi, Bagamanoc Mayor Remigio Villaluna, Caramoran Mayor Agnes Popa, and San Andres Mayor Peter Cua, DOTr Asec for Maritime Andoy Perez, and PPA General Manager Jay Santiago were also present at the inauguration.

Virac Airport is the only airport serving the island province of Catanduanes. It started its operations in 1946 as a feeder airport with its first commercial flight landing in 1947 and its first private aircraft flight landing in 1947. On October 27, 2013, Cebu Pacific launched the first Airbus flight to Virac and its Manila-Virac-Manila route every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. In December 2017, Philippine Airlines launched its Clark-Virac-Clark route every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday.