THE Ministry of Transportation and Communication in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MOTC-Barmm) announced that Cotabato airport has officially reopened its doors to passenger and commercial aircrafts on Sunday, October 1, 2023.
This came following a temporary runway closure for extensive rehabilitation work in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao del Norte.
Cotabato Airport, also known as Awang Airport, is serving the general area of Cotabato City, North Cotabato and Maguindanao del Norte.
It is classified as a Class 1 principal (major domestic) airport by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap).
Lawyer Hanamir Emblawa, OIC director of the Bangsamoro Airport Authority-MOTC, has issued a notice to airmen (Notam) to resume flight operations at Cotabato airport.
“The moment the Caap issued a Notam that the runway can be used, it means the airport has capacity to operate and accommodate passengers,” Emblawa said.
He said the BAA-MOTC always coordinates with the Office for Transportation Security (OTS), the Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group (PNP-AVSEGROUP), and Caap to ensure the airport's safety for passengers.
"The ministry has remained committed to helping the region boost tourist activities through the opening of airports," he added.
Lawyer Paisalin Tago, MOTC minister, has thanked the Government of the Day and the national government for their unwavering support for the improvement of Cotabato airport.
Passengers can now access the following domestic flight routes to Cotabato City: Manila-Cotabato-Manila, daily; Cebu-Cotabato-Cebu, Monday and Thursday; and Cotabato-Tawi-Tawi-Cotabato, Monday and Thursday.
Sunday morning’s first commercial aircraft to land at Cotabato Airport was from Cebu Pacific, carrying passengers from Manila.
Meanwhile, Lawyer Roland Hallid Torres, chairman of the Bangsamoro Business Council, said the resumption of Cotabato airport operation will have beneficial effects on regional tourism and business activities, ultimately contributing to economic growth.
"This has a positive impact on the business sector as we will be able to go back to our usual operations that necessitate connectivity," Torres said.
The rehabilitation of the Cotabato airport’s runway marks a significant step in improving air travel accessibility and safety in the region, and is expected to resume regular operations without further interruptions.
This aligns with the efforts of the Government of the Day to develop a reliable and resilient system of air transportation, communications, commercial, and other strategic infrastructure to drive economic growth in Barmm. (SunStar Zamboanga)