THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) on Wednesday officially issued the notice of award to San Miguel Holdings Corp. (SMHC) for its P734-billion Bulacan International Airport project.

With the notice of award, SMHC will now take charge of the airport project’s financing, design, construction, supply, completion, testing, commissioning, and operation and maintenance.

SMHC must now submit documentary requirements such as its performance bond and letters of credit from a bank to the DoTr Special Bids and Awards Committee within 20 days from receiving the notice of award.

The DoTr earlier said it expects the airport to begin construction by the fourth quarter of the year.

“Finally, we can push forward with the Bulacan International Airport… Once operational, this new airport will give connectivity options to our citizens,” Transportation Undersecretary for Planning Ruben S. Reinoso, Jr. said in the statement.

The Bulacan International Airport, also called New Manila International Airport, is positioned as an alternative to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City.

It will stand on a 2,500-hectare land in Bulacan, Bulacan, with four to six parallel runways, and will have an annual capacity of 100 million passengers.

The new airport is targeted for operations within four to six years. SMHC said earlier this week it is tapping three foreign firms for the design and build of the project: Groupe ADP (Aeroports de Paris), Meinhardt Group and Jacobs Engineering Group.

“What we hope to build is a long-term solution — a sustainable and world-class Philippine gateway with enough runways and facilities to meet current and future needs,” Ramon S. Ang, president and chief operating officer of SMHC parent San Miguel Corp., earlier said. — Denise A. Valdez