FAST FACTS: Tacloban Airport

Gwen De La Cruz

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FAST FACTS: Tacloban Airport
Outside Manila, Leyte is included in Pope Francis' itinerary in his Philippine tour

MANILA, Philippines – Pope Francis’ itinerary in his Philippine visit includes flying to Leyte on January 17 to visit some areas affected in 2013 by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan), one of the strongest storms in history. (READ: Pope chooses Visayas as the core of Philippine trip)

The Pope will reach the province via Tacloban Airport, the largest airport in Eastern Visayas and ranked 8th busiest airport in 2011. Also known as the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport, it was named after the former Speaker and uncle of Imelda Marcos, wife of former president Ferdinand Marcos.

It was totally ruined by Yolanda and was deemed unusable. It went back to operations days after, but was limited to turboprop or smaller aircrafts only. In December 2014, it was again damaged by Typhoon Ruby.

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said the airport will complete its P44-million ($979,334.41)* rehabilitation by the time of Pope Francis’ visit. (READ: Tacloban Airport ‘ready’ for Pope Francis)

Prior to this rehabilitation, it was also supposed to undergo a reconstruction program called the Tacloban Airport Development Project, which “covers the construction of apron, taxiway, and completion of northeast shore protection.” The project was supposed to be completed by the first quarter of 2014.

Among the past 3 papal visits prior to Pope Francis, it was only once that a pope went out of the country’s capital to visit other provinces. In 1981, Pope John Paul visited the country for the first time. Apart from Manila, he also went to these provinces, all in a span of 3 days:

SOURCES: Travel section of Vatican’s official website, Philippine Papal Visit website, National Statistical Coordination Board, various news sites

Learn about the other spots in Pope Francis’ itinerary:

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