Damaged Tacloban airport ‘taking toll’ on region

Paterno Esmaquel II
Damaged Tacloban airport ‘taking toll’ on region
A manual baggage 'carousel' shows a damaged Tacloban Airport nearly a year after Super Typhoon Yolanda

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – Up to 4 airport personnel pushed a cart containing the luggage of Philippine Airlines (PAL) passengers on Thursday, October 30, as the baggage carousel still wouldn’t work in the airport of typhoon-ravaged Tacloban City.

Passengers claimed their baggage one by one – manually.

Before this, the runway, which is under repair, already limited the number of passengers that the PAL flight could take. In fact at least one passenger got bumped off to a later flight despite arriving on time.

The gateway to Tacloban City and big parts of Region VIII – the Daniel Z Romualdez Airport – remains damaged nearly a year after Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck on November 8, 2013.

In a forum in Manila on Tuesday, October 28, Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez said Tacloban is “losing three-fourths of passengers coming in and out” of the city “because the airport now cannot accommodate jets.”

“And it’s definitely taking a toll on the economy not of only Tacloban City but the entire region,” Romualdez said.

The mayor pointed out that many families from overseas want to return to Tacloban City for All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, November 1 and 2, and on November 8, the first anniversary of Yolanda.

Key: ‘More resilient structure’

To provide a long-term solution, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has proposed moving the airport to a place away from the sea, unlike in Romualdez’s city.

Romualdez, however, opposed this plan. “Many airports all over the world – you look at San Francisco, you look at Hong Kong – they’re all beside the sea,” the mayor said in an interview quoted by Inquirer.net.

He pointed out that the key is to build a “more resilient structure.”

Officials vowed to repair the Tacloban airport as soon as possible, especially before January 2015, when Pope Francis is expected to say Mass there.

Efren Nagrama, civil aviation area manager at the Tacloban airport, told Rappler that they want to “fast-track” the repair of the runway.

He said officials target to finish the runway repairs by the first week of December. – Rappler.com

See related stories: 

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.


Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.