THE DEPARTMENT of Transportation (DoTr) said it is expediting development works at the Antique Airport, adjusting the completion timeline to June 2020, after asking the contractor to hire more workers and work longer hours.

“We have requested the contractor to fast-track the development of the Antique Airport to efficiently serve the region. To do this, we need the augmentation of workers and equipment, and extend the working hours from 8 to 12 hours,” Transportation Undersecretary for Aviation Manuel Antonio L. Tamayo said in a statement Sunday.

Works at the Antique Airport, which started in December last year, were originally scheduled to finish in August 2020. These cover the construction of a new passenger terminal building, apron, taxiway, fire station building, power house, administration building, perimeter and security fence, vehicle parking area and staff house.

The DoTr said the adjusted timeline comes after an inspection of the works on Aug. 3, where it found the development has progressed 12% since December.

Antique Representative Loren B. Legarda joined the inspection, and asked the DoTr and the contractor to submit to her office the master plan for the project within two weeks.

“(Adjustments were made) to extend the airport’s runway from 1,430 meters to 1,800 meters in order to accommodate jet operations. (Ms.) Legarda has pledged to work on the additional funding of at least P150 million for the runway extension,” the DoTr said.

It added Ms. Legarda’s son, Solar Para Sa Bayan Corp. President Leandro L. Leviste, “committed to provide” a solar panel system for the airport for free.

“We will ensure that this airport will be upgraded on or before its target date so that we may deliver to the people of Antique the service and facility that they have long been yearning for,” Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said in the statement.

Antique airport resumed commercial operations in December with a flight operated by Philippine Airlines (PAL) linking the destination to Clark International Airport.

Antique Airport is a principal class 2 gateway and the only airport in the province of Antique. — Denise A. Valdez