MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has rescheduled the opening of Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental to avoid disrupting the flow of passengers during the summer travel season.
In a statement, the agency said that the P7.8-billion facility will open on June 15, instead of April 30.
Laguindingan Airport will become the main gateway to northern Mindanao. It will replace Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro, which is scheduled for turnover to the Philippine Air Force.
The DOTC said that it pushed back the date after airline operators asked the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to move the transfer until after the summer season.
Four airlines operate from Lumbia Airport: Philippine Airlines (PAL), PAL Express, Zest Airways and Cebu Pacific.
“It is in the best interest of the government and of the airlines to deliver safe and convenient services to the public. As we took stock of the assessment of both CAAP and the airline companies that the Laguindingan Airport is already a safer alternative to the Lumbia Airport, we again listen to their inputs saying that postponing the transfer will be better for passenger convenience,” the DOTC said.
The carriers said that they were encountering difficulties in informing passengers who purchased tickets for flights in April and May about changes in their itineraries.
“The postponement will give the airlines ample time to inform their customers of their new flight schedules at Laguindingan Airport. This will lessen the possibility of disrupting travel plans and causing inconvenience to the riding public,” the DOTC added.
Laguindingan Airport was one of 17 projects identified by the DOTC as ready for rollout to private investors. The CAAP would temporarily operate the airport using Visual Flight Rules until air navigation equipment is installed by May 2014. – With a report from Christian Bautista/Rappler.com