CAAP shoots bid for airport rehab

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014


THE Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) under director-general William Hotchkiss III rejected the city's proposal for the complete rehabilitation of the Loakan airport, saying it is no longer feasible to operate as a commercial airfield.

This was gathered from Councilor Elmer Datuin who joined the CAAP meeting on the airport held recently at the CAAP office in Manila also attended by Representative Nicasio Aliping Jr. and officials of key line agencies in the region.

Datuin said they were told Loakan airport cannot operate as commercial airport because it is no longer financially viable.

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“Based on a pilot’s point of view, it will be very hard to invite interested airline companies to include the airport in their regular flight routes as it will not be financially viable. The principal complaints in the airport are air safety due to the precarious terrain and the continued presence of clouds in the route to the city posing danger to commercial planes during inclement weather and late afternoons," Datuin said.

Another point to consider, according to Datuin, was the lack of airline franchise to operate routes from Manila as the slots have been filled.

He said the franchises available cover the routes from Sangley Point in Cavite and Clark International Airport in Pampanga.

“So even if we proceed with the rehabilitation of the airport, it will still be the airline companies who will have the final say if it can be operated as a commercial airport but as they said it will be hard to convince one as they don’t like to take the risk because of Baguio’s air route conditions and they now have many choices in the routes to serve,” Datuin said.

He said CAAP believes the airport can better serve as an aviation airfield hosting only ordinary aircrafts and emergency and military planes.

The city government and the Regional Development Council (RDC) last year appealed to the CAAP and the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) to modernize the airport facilities to boost the tourism industry in the region.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan said the estimated cost for the fencing and the establishment of an alternate route was P115 million and this was taken up recently with Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. who he said committed to convince the Senate committee in charge to help the city government raise the needed funds for the project.

Datuin said the airport needs a total of P375 million for the complete modernization including the upgrading of the navigational equipment and construction of a new terminal. (Aileen Refuerzo)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 19, 2014.

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