PASSENGER volume in the Daniel Z. Romualdez (DZR) Airport reached 1.14 million in 2012, 13 percent higher than the 1.01 million posted in 2011, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) reported on Monday.
Caap said the number of incoming and outgoing flights rose by 10.5 percent to 10,030 last year from 9,074 in 2011, making the airport as one of the busiest in the country.
April was the busiest month on record for the DZR Airport with total passenger traffic of 115,587, accounting to 10 percent of last year’s volume.
Caap Eastern Visayas area manager Antonio Alfonso said the passenger volume has been consistently increasing every year from 627,108 in 2008; 892,425 in 2009; 907,347 in 2010; and 1,015,797 in 2011. The airport has seen growth as airlines added their capacity and new service to and from the destination terminal.
“The factor contributing to the 2012 passenger volume rise is the launching of SEAir (Southeast Asian Airlines), another low cost carrier bound for Manila. Cebu Pacific also opened the new Tacloban-Iloilo route,” Alfonso told Leyte Samar Daily Express.
On a daily basis, the DZR airport serves 11 Manila-bound flights of Cebu Pacific (CEB), Zest Air, Air Philippines, and SEAIR; and two Cebu-bound flights of CEB and Air Philippines. Iloilo-bound Cebu Pacific aircraft uses the airport three times weekly.
About 6,544 tons of cargo were transported in January – December 2012, slightly lower than the 6,697 tons of cargoes recorded in 2011.
“With the consistent growth of air passengers using the DZR Airport, we need to improve and upgrade the facilities of Tacloban Airport in accordance with international civil aviation and safety standards,” Alfonso said.
In a report to the Regional Development Council (RDC), the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said they will implement a P2.12 billion Tacloban Airport development project from 2013 to 2016.
The report said that the contractor is waiting for the notice to proceed with the actual construction.
The project consists of four components; construction of the apron and taxi way, the completion of North-East shore protection, construction of drainage system, and construction of temporary transition.
“The project will meet the increasing air passengers and cargo traffics, serve modern and bigger aircrafts, and provide safety to air commuters,” the DOTC-project management office said in a statement.
From 2007 to 2012, the DOTC has set aside P1.015 billion funding for DZR Airport financing construction of a new apron, taxiway, shore protection; site development of the new terminal area; renovation of the terminal building; and different stages of asphalt overlay of the runway.
The Tacloban Airport Development Project was originally included in the Japan Bank for International Cooperation’s P3.75 billion loan package in 2001 but was excluded for the Philippine government’s failure to put up a counterpart. The loan expired in September 2007. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)