MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III will join the final inspection of the P7.853 billion Laguindingan Airport, the first newly built airport to open under his watch.
President Aquino and Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya will head for Misamis Oriental on Tuesday morning, June 11, to unveil at 9 a.m. a marker at the airport, which is referred to as the gateway to Northern Mindanao.
The first day of flights at the Laguindingan airport will be on Saturday, June 15.
Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines (PAL), PAL Express and Zest Air will transfer their flights currently at Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro. The old airport is scheduled for turnover to the Philippine Air Force.
Start of operations was pushed back from the original schedule of April 30 after the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) approved the request of airlines to postpone the transfer until after the peak summer season.
Aquino, Abaya and CAAP Director General William H. Hotchkiss III will perform a last check of the readiness of the new gateway’s facilities.
The DOTC said the new airport has more room for expansion and is safer.
“The consensus from CAAP, aviation experts, and affected airlines is that, even using VFR, Laguindingan is already safer than Lumbia right now. This is because geographically, it is in a better site under any weather condition,” DOTC spokesperson Migs Sagcal explained.
The Laguindingan Airport sits on a 400-hectare land, has a modular design. The master design was created back in year 2000.
It features a 2.1-kilometer runway and a 7,184-square meter passenger terminal building with a capacity of 1.6 million passengers per year.
The CAAP would temporarily operate the airport using Visual Flight Rules until air navigation equipment called Instrument Landing System (ILS) is installed by May 2014.
The Aquino administration has lined up several airport projects to be auctioned off to boost tourism and trade.
Laguindingan Airport was one of 17 projects identified by the DOTC as ready for rollout to private investors.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board approved the Laguindingan Airport project way back in August 2007. Former President Gloria Macpagal-Arroyo, who was an advocate of the Cagayan de Oro-Iligan Corridor that is set to benefit from the airport project, led the groundbreaking ceremonies following the inauguration of the Laguindingan Aiport Development Project in January 2006.
Plans for the Laguindingan Airport has been in place since 1991, but land acquisition and financing issues got in the way.
The construction of the airport was funded with Official Development Assistance (ODA) from South Korea through the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) and the Export-Import Bank of Korea (Korea Eximbank). – Rappler.com