REVIVAL of the Mati City airport operations is eyed to start early 2020.
Davao Oriental Governor Nelson Dayanghirang said in his State of the Province Address during the 52nd founding anniversary program of the province on Monday, July 1 that he will sign “in a few days” an executive order to create a task force to fast track the old airport’s revival.
“The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has earmarked P200 million for this project. We believe that the reopening of the Mati airport will bring in better opportunities for the development of the province’s economy,” he said.
The budget will be poured for the rehabilitation and construction of the runway, fencing, and continuation of terminal building. At present, the airport’s terminal building is 70 percent complete.
He added that talks with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) and with the families that own the properties that will be or may be affected by the improvement of the airport were already initiated early on.
The Mati Airport formerly known as Imelda R. Marcos Airport located in Barangay Dahican was constructed back in the 70s, under the administration of the late President Ferdinand Marcos. Two families own the properties occupied by the Mati airport. Its terminal and apron sit on the land owned by the Rabats while the 1,628.85-meter runway is located in a property owned by the Rocamoras.
Newly-elected Michelle Rabat in an interview with SunStar Davao said she will make the operations of Mati airport a priority under her administration.
“We will surely partner with the provincial government on this. This airport will usher in developments for the city and the province especially in tourism,” she said.
Dayanghirang said Cebu Pacific has shown interest to service the Mati City – Cebu City route.
“Initially, we are looking at propellers to serve this soon-to-be route,” the governor said.
To meet the increasing demand of tourists in the province, the provincial government is improving its tourism complex with the construction of an inland resort and an 800-person capacity convention center.
Davao Oriental has recorded some 800,000 tourists in 2018 and for the first quarter of 2019, tourism arrivals reached around 400,000 tourists.