Lawmaker: Laguindingan Airport ‘dangerous’

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Monday, January 13, 2014


A LAWMAKER who visited Cagayan de Oro City on Saturday deemed the Laguindingan Airport as dangerous due to lack of facilities like the navigational equipment, runway lights and its own control tower.

At present, the new airport relies on the control tower at the old Lumbia airport.

Representative of Buhay Party-list Lito Atienza said the administration of President Benigno Aquino III should upgrade the airport to make it functional and safe, especially in bad weather conditions like what is currently persisting in the last five days.

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“They should add facilities to the airport and extend the public area,” said Atienza.

He added the airport became congested with stranded passengers when the flights were cancelled due to the inclement weather.

Atienza has observed that the airport’s facilities simply lack amenities to the detriment of the public.

“Like now (on Saturday), there are no lights. It poses a danger to the people when the facilities are not enough,” Atienza said.

He said the airport lacks modern facilities.

Atienza also denounced the handling of the present administration on social services.

He added the people in Cagayan de Oro should not let this pass and demand a concrete action regarding this matter.

“The people should ask for an action from the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) in particular,” Atienza said.

Millions lost

Meanwhile, one of the city’s business groups estimated that the deficiencies in Laguindingan Airport could cost millions of pesos.

“Economic losses (could be in the) millions annually,” said Efren Uy, chairman of Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Oro Chamber).

Uy said the airport is not at par with other airports because it has no landing lights and lacks the navigational aid and equipment.

Uy added that in the last five days, due to cloudy skies almost all flights from Manila, Cebu and Davao were cancelled because landing lights are unavailable.

“These things happen every time there is bad weather,” said Uy referring to the cancelled flights due to inadequate equipment and facilities.

Uy added that during fine weathers, the airport can only accommodate 14 to 18 flights whereas the Lumbia Airport before can take as much as 28 flights per day.

Charlotte Brananola, a passenger from the city who frequents Cebu city for schooling, said the airport in Laguindingan is too small compared to other airports.

She said the land area is too wide to have a "cute" airport and it is an awful waste of space.

“They also do not have an x-ray machine for inspection and you have to open your baggage for checking,” said Brananola.

Brananola added the lack of facilities prompt flight cancellations during bad weather condition -- cloudy and rainy seasons.

She said the airport has no flights at night because it needs more light on its runway.

Amid the imperfection, she said the Laguindingan airport is clean especially the comfort rooms.

Cancelled flights

According to an article posted in Sun.Star Philippines, the DOTC cancelled flights going to Cagayan de Oro and other neighboring cities and provinces since January 11 by airlines due to the potential storm approaching the areas.

Cancelled flights from Manila to Cagayan de Oro are: Z2-348, 5J-383 and Z2-340 while the cancelled flights from Laguindingan airport to Manila are Z2-349, 5J-384 and Z2-341. Manila-Butuan-Manila: 5J-785 and 5J-786. Manila-Surigao: 5J-767 and 2P-065. Surigao-Manila: 5J-768 and 2P-066. Manila-Dipolog: 5J-703 and 2P-587. Dipolog-Manila: 5J-704 and 2P-588.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) reported a potential storm that was spotted at 200 kilometers (km) southeast of General Santos City.

As of 4 a.m. on January 12, the potential storm is still on a low pressure area.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 13, 2014.

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