FACILITY LIMITATIONS CONSTRAIN GROWTH OF AIR TRAFFIC IN NORTHERN MINDANAO

Aug 31, 2011

by MIKE BANOS

Increasing air traffic in Northern Mindanao is putting a strain on the region’s two trunkline airports.

During the recent Regional Development Forum facilitated by the National Economic and Development Authority Region X (NEDA-X), Engr. Modesto C. Babaylan, co-chair of the Regional Development Council Region X Infrastructure Committee, reported that air traffic data gathered from Cagayan de Oro’s Lumbia Airport and Ozamiz City’s Labo Airport show incoming and outgoing passengers increased by 26 percent and 28 percent, respectively; incoming and outgoing flights increased by 21 percent and 18 percent, respectively; and the volume of incoming and outgoing cargoes increased by 23 percent and 47 percent, respectively.

Airport Perspective of the Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental which is nearing completion.

“Hence, there is really need to fast track the completion of the Laguindingan Airport Development Project,” Mr. Babaylan said. “RDC-X has already communicated with the DOTC to hasten the implementation of the Air Navigational Aid System and Support Facilities (ANSSF) Component of the LADP, which is a basic requirement to the operation of the airport.”

In its latest progress report, the Special Committee on the Laguindingan Airport Development Project (LADP) urged the DOTC to expedite the bidding for the ANSSF which could delay the opening the airport’s opening by as much as a year to October 2012.

The ANSSF includes the airport’s air traffic control communication system, automated weather station, instrument landing system, Doppler VHF omnidirectional radio system, airfield lighting system, among others.

Engr. Jaime Pacampara, coordinator of the RDC-X InfraCom Secretariat, said that as of July 26, 2011, the airport is 87.4% complete for its civil and structural components but the ANSSF bidding could delay its opening following the shift in financing of the US$13.8-million needed from a European creditor to the Korean Export-Import Bank which offered better terms.

As the primary air gateway to Northern Mindanao, the Laguindingan airport will initially service domestic flights and later international flights. It was initially conceived to address the rising passenger and cargo volume within the Cagayan de Oro-Iligan Corridor (CIC) growth area which could no longer be served over the long term by existing airports in Cagayan de Oro (Lumbia) and Lanao del Norte/Iligan (Balo-i).

Laguindingan AirportAnother perspective of the Laguindingan Airport.

Figures from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) in Lumbia Airport show passenger traffic increased by 19 percent (209,846) from 1,091,656 in 2009 to 1,301,502 in 2010. Cargo traffic grew even faster by 38 percent (6,131.84 metric tons) from 16,112.72MT in 2009 to 22,244.56MT in 2010. As a result, the number of flights fielded by the three major domestic carriers increased 17 percent (1,830) from 10,760 in 2009 to 12,590 in 2010.

The committee is expected to immediately push previously identified projects to support the eventual operation of the Laguindingan Airport with RDC-X such as the widening to four-lanes of the Cagayan de Oro-Iligan portion of the Iligan-Cagayan-Butuan-Road (ICBR); development of a seaport and installation of a water supply system in Laguindingan.

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