April 18, 2024

Mayor Benjamin Magalong hopes the Loakan Airport will start operating commercial flights by Christmastime after his recent meeting with Sec. Jaime Bautista of the Department of Transportation and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Acting Director-General, Capt. Manuel Antonio Lara Tamayo.

The mayor said Bautista assured of the complete rehabilitation and re-opening of the Loakan Airport.

They also discussed during the meeting the requirements needed in upgrading the airport to cater to domestic flights.

He said the DOTR and CAAP will infuse P68 million for the rehabilitation of the airport terminal including the upgrade of the necessary Instrument Landing System that will guide aircrafts in maneuvering in and out of the airport even during bad weather conditions.

“The CAAP is well versed of the developments needed for the Loakan Airport and their technical team will start ocular inspections next week,” Magalong said.

The CAAP technical team will also inspect the ongoing drainage works and the improvement of the runway to extend the length by at least 100 meters.

“I was told the present runway is sufficient enough to accommodate turboprop 1aircrafts like the Q400 (Dash 8) Bombardier which is an 80-seater plane,” Magalong said.

Obstructions, either natural or man-made, shall be removed the soonest, he said. At least 35 natural obstructions were identified.

Residents within the airport’s buffer zone were also reminded to voluntarily remove their structures or allow the city government to demolish.

More than a hundred individuals whose houses are within the buffer zone have been given notices by the city government since 2020.

The CAAP declared the 150-meter width from the center of the airport or 75 meters on both sides as the buffer zone of the Loakan Airport.

“We cannot compromise safety. The paramount concern for aviation is safety. Besides, those who built their structures within the CAAP property have no building permit,” Magalong said.

Built in 1934, the Loakan Airport served domestic flights until the July 1990 earthquake. Presently, the airport only services chartered and military flights on demand. – Jessa Samidan