Tacloban airport ‘ready’ for Pope Francis


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Tacloban airport ‘ready’ for Pope Francis
Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya says repairs at the Tacloban airport are being fast-tracked for Pope Francis' visit in January

MANILA, Philippines – The Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport (Tacloban Airport), which was damaged yet again by Typhoon Ruby (Hagupit), will be ready for Pope Francis’ visit in January 2015.

The rehabilitation of the airport will be finished ahead of the scheduled papal visit to Tacloban and Palo on January 17, 2015, Transportation and Communications Secretary (DOTC) Joseph Emilio Abaya said in an interview over Church-run Radyo Veritas.

“Let’s fix it. I don’t think [the ongoing] repair work will hamper the commercial operation [of the airport],” Abaya said.

The Tacloban airport – the gateway that was severely damaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda in November 2013 – is set to be fully rehabilitated in January 2015 by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

Abaya said the main mission is to make the terminal “operational.”

“We struck a balance. If we proceeded with a more permanent structure, it would take time,” Abaya said.

The DOTC secretarty added that the planned repair must meet the standard of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) which is requiring the Tacloban airport to withstand winds of up to 150 kilometers per hour.

”Now that we’re going to re-evaluate the structure, I have realized it’s time to do away with the temporary concept of thinking… This ‘style’ is more expensive. This time around, the repair must be all out,” Abaya said.

The Tacloban airport rehabilitation costs P44 million ($987,765.22*).

As of November, the airport already had a refurbished passenger terminal building. Four x-ray machines and 4 walk-through metal detectors were also installed. The airport’s administration and project management office buildings were also rehabilitated.

But as Ruby pounded the province anew, Tacloban airport became limited to aircraft with turbo propeller engine. (WATCH: VLOG: How prepared is Tacloban airport for Typhoon Ruby?). – Rappler.com


Join Rappler in a 100-day countdown to Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines: a journey from the Vatican to Tacloban. Tweet us your thoughts using the hashtag #PopeFrancisPH!

*$1 = P44.55

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