CITY Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar announced that a new Zamboanga International Airport (ZIA) project costing P9.87 billion has already been endorsed as priority to the National Government by the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).
Salazar said the endorsement was made by the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDa), citing a study that showed the existing airport in the village of Baliwasan is no longer viable for future expansions, thus the need for a new airport location.
A new airport location is also necessary due to the increasing air traffic and accelerating growth of the city in the Western Mindanao Development Corridor, being one of the country's primary gateways to the Association of Southeast Asian (Asean) countries.
The transfer of the airport from its current location to the village of Mercedes and Talabaan in the east coast has been pushed since 1996, following the development of the Master Development Plan of this city.
It was learned that at least 250 hectares of the proposed site for the new airport are owned by private individuals and corporations.
The ZIA Master Plan project was prepared since 1992 by a consortium of Singaporean Consulting firms. (Bong Garcia/SunStar Philippines)