Legazpi Airport rehabilitation could take up to 40 days

MANILA, Philippines – The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said the Legazpi Airport, which sustained heavy damage due to Typhoon Tisoy, will continue commercial operations while going through rehabilitation.

In a statement released on Thursday, December 5, CAAP Director General Captain Jim Sydiongco said that he, along with the agency's chief engineer and aerodrome engineers, as well as the chief of the Air Traffic Service, conducted an inspection of the airport the day before.

The inspection team then determined that the airport's full rehabilitation would take between 30 to 40 days, since the pre-departure area was "badly damaged" by the typhoon.

While rehabilitation is ongoing, full commercial operations will still continue through the conversion of the international arrival area into an interim pre-departure area.

"We are aiming that through this interim measure, the passenger terminal building (PTB) still can and will be able to accommodate 400 passengers at any given time in case PAL and Cebu Pacific operate at the same time," Sydiongco said.

Sydiongco added that the damaged areas of the airport can be repaired and made operational by Monday, December 9.

The Office of Transportation Security (OTS) will conduct manual inspections since only one xray machine is currently operational. CAAP will also augment the landside and airside security personnel of the OTS.

The Legazpi Airport sustained heavy damage as Typhoon Tisoy made landfall in the province of Sorsogon on Tuesday, December 3. (LOOK: Legazpi Airport sustains heavy damage due to Typhoon Tisoy)

The airport was restored to its night-rated capacity by Wednesday, December 4. According to CAAP Area V, the operations were based on visual meteorological conditions as the airport's runway threshold identification light was still inoperable.

Meanwhile, all affected airports handled by CAAP have also returned to normal operations as of Thursday, including the Calbayog Airport in Samar. All markers and wind cones of the airport have been reinstalled, while its passenger terminal, fire station, and vertical path angle have been cleared of debris.

The Catarman Airport in Northern Samar also resumed operations on Thursday. – Rappler.com

Loreben Tuquero

Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.