MAYOR Benjamin B. Magalong hopes that the Loakan Airport will start operating commercial flights by Christmas time after his recent meeting with Secretary Jaime Bautista of the Department of Transportation (DOTR) and Capt. Manuel Antonio Lara Tamayo, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) acting director general.
The mayor said he was assured by no less than DOTR Secretary Bautista on the complete rehabilitation and re-opening of the Loakan Airport. Discussed during the meeting were technical requirements needed in upgrading the airport to cater to domestic flights.
He said the DOTR and CAAP will be infusing P68 million for the rehabilitation of the airport terminal, including the upgrade of the necessary Instrument Landing System (ILS) that will guide aircrafts in maneuvering in and out of the airport even during bad weather conditions.
“The CAAP is well versed on 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 be inspecting the ongoing drainage works and the improvement of the runway to extend the length by at least 100 meters from the present 1.683 meters.
“I was told the present runway is sufficient enough to accommodate turboprop aircraft 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, Magalong said. At least 35 natural obstructions were counted that needed to be acted upon.
Residents within the airport’s buffer zone were also reminded to voluntarily remove their structures or allow the city government to demolish them. More than a hundred individuals have been given notices by the city government since 2020 that they are within the buffer zone.
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 and 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. – JMPS