The airport's control tower
Bacolod-Silay Airport (Filipino: Paliparan ng Bacolod-Silay, Hiligaynon: Hulugpaan sang Bacolod-Silay) (IATA: BCD, ICAO: RPVB) is the main airport serving the general area of Bacolod City, the capital city of Negros Occidental in the Philippines. This airport replaced the Bacolod City Domestic Airport, located in Bacolod City proper, in 2007. The New Bacolod-Silay Airport inherited its IATA and ICAO airport codes from the former.
The airport is located fifteen kilometers northeast of Bacolod City on a 181-hectare site in Barangay Bagtic, Silay City. The airport, which is built to handle international traffic, is expected to become the primary gateway to Negros Island, and one of the three international airports envisioned to serve the Western Visayas region, alongside Kalibo International Airport and the New Iloilo Airport.
Despite being built to international standards, the Bacolod-Silay Airport is designated as a Principal Class 1 domestic airport by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, a body of the Department of Transportation and Communications that is responsible for the operations of not only this airport but also of all other airports in the Philippines except the major international airports. To date, scheduled commercial international flights are yet to serve the airport.
Planning for a new airport in Bacolod City commenced in 1997, when the Japan International Cooperation Agency initiated a study indicating the need for expansion at four Philippine airports: namely Bacolod City Domestic Airport, Mandurriao Airport in Iloilo City, Legazpi Airport in Legazpi City and Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport in Tacloban City. Of the four airports, two have been completed (Iloilo and Bacolod), and two are in planning (Legazpi and Tacloban).
In February 1999, another JICA study was commissioned, this time on the detailed plan of the new airport. The study was completed by March 2000 and was funded by a 430-million yen grant. Immediately after the completion of the study, JICA hired Pacific Consultants International as advisers to the project.
The project was opened for bidding on August 25, 2003, with the winning bid going to the Takenaka-Itochu Joint Venture (TIJV). Physical construction on the new 4.3 billion-peso airport, funded in part by an 8.2-billion yen loan, commenced in August 2004. A 900-day deadline was imposed for the airport to be completed, which broadly corresponds to January 2007.
The airport was complete as of July 16, 2007, although there was considerable debate over whether or not the airport should be opened due to the length of its runway. A 500-meter extension of the runway was planned in order for the airport to accommodate larger aircraft. Depending on the scenario, the airport had a foreseen opening date of November 2007 or sometime in 2010, after the completion of a diversion road leading to the airport.
The first aircraft ever to land at the airport was a small fourteen-seater turboprop owned by Vincent Aviation. The Reims-Cessna F406 with aircraft registration number ZK-VAF, piloted by Steve Gray of New Zealand landed at the airport at 9:55 in the morning of September 26, 2007.
The airport officially opened and began operations on January 18, 2008, and the first commercial flight to arrive was Cebu Pacific's Flight 5J 473 from Manila, an Airbus A319-100 which landed at 5:22am PST on the same day. Fittingly enough, the pilot in command of the aircraft - Captain Allan Garces - was a native of Silay City.
The first international flight to arrive at the airport was a chartered plane from Kazakhstan which landed on January 2, 2009.
The Bacolod-Silay Airport has one primary runway 45 meters (148 ft) wide and 2,000 meters (6,600 ft) long, just a bit longer than its predecessors. The runway runs in a direction of 03°/21°, and can currently handle aircraft as large as the Airbus A330. Provisions for a 500-meter (1,600 ft) expansion of the present runway in order to accommodate even larger aircraft like the Boeing 747 and the Airbus A340 were confirmed on May 23, 2009, when it was reported that the budget for the construction of the 500m extension of the runway has been approved by the Philippine government, and bidding and construction is slated to start in the 3rd or 4th quarter of 2009.
The airport is equipped with an Instrument Landing System, making it capable of handling night and low-visibility landings.
The entire airport complex is designed to handle an excess of one million passengers and 16,715 tons of cargo annually and consists of 21 buildings with a total floor space of 10,075 square meters (108,450 sq ft).
The largest building in the complex is the 6,187-square-meter (66,600 sq ft) main passenger terminal with three levels. The ground floor holds the check-in counters, the public concourse, the arrival area and the information counter. The second floor has the three pre-departure areas with their VIP and CIP lounges; these pre-departure areas lead out to three jet bridges over an apron that can handle up to five aircraft simultaneously. The Air Transportation Office is also on the second floor, as well as the Airport Security holding room, a clinic and a nursery. On the third floor is the viewing deck with a concession area and rooms for maintenance and airport machinery.
The state-of-the art main passenger terminal is equipped with a flight information display system, mechanized baggage handling systems for both inbound and outbound baggage, numerous security X-ray machines, and elevators and escalators. Outside the main terminal is parking for 350 cars.
Airlines and destinations
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