General Santos City's newly expanded airport terminal building can now accommodate two million passengers annually from its previous annual capacity of 800,000 passengers, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said on Tuesday.

Tugade made the announcement during President Rodrigo Duterte's inspection on Monday of the two major completed projects at the General Santos (GenSan) Airport and Port of General Santos.

With the wharf's upgrade and expansion, the main gateway of Soccskargen region (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City or Region 12), commonly known as Makar Wharf, can now accommodate at least 1,300 large ships for port calls every year.

The Department of Transportation (DoTr) also announced that Philippine Airlines (PAL) will start international operations at GenSan Airport.

PAL flight route to and from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia via the GenSan-Kuala Lumpur-GenSan will start on Dec. 9, 2021.

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"GenSan's status as international airport has long been delayed. Now with the changes we introduced during the term of our president, they can now start operation," Tugade said in Filipino.

Included in the Makar Wharf's development projects is its new Port Operations Building, which will ensure efficient operation of ship and cargo monitoring.

Tugade said the rest of Mindanao will benefit from economic and employment opportunities the two major transportation projects will bring.

General Santos Airport will be the first airport in Mindanao to have cutting-edge and innovative contactless features similar to those found in the Clark International Airport in Pampanga.

"This will make airport services effortless, safe, and convenient for all users," said Tugade.