Laguindingan Airport can accommodate more flights, passengers and cargo

Jul 4, 2017

by

 

There are no facility constraints at Northern Mindanao’s Laguindingan Airport that hinder the flow of more passenger and cargo traffic to and from the region.

 

Jose G. Budiongan, airport and area manager for the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Area X, said that while Laguindingan Airport’s passenger terminal building already exceeded its design capacity of 1.6 million people annually four years ago, the airport still has available slots during other times of the day to accommodate more flights.

Media interviews CAAP Area X Manager Jojo Budiongan. Photo by Rich Neri Concepcion

Media interviews CAAP Area X Manager Jojo Budiongan. Photo by Rich Neri Concepcion

 

“Every day from 12MN to 5AM we have no flights so we can accommodate about 3 flights an hour or 15 additional daily flights for this particular period,” Budiongan said. “We also have only one flight from 8-11AMdaily and we can accommodate another 3 flights during this time.”

 

Even with the airport’s existing 2,100 meter long runway, Budiongan said it has already been comfortably servicing Philippine Airlines new Airbus A321-231 aircraft which can accommodate 199 passengers in 3 classes (business, premium economy & economy) each flight.

PAL A321

PAL A321

 

The even newer A321neo which airlines will soon deploy in domestic operations can accommodate up to 240 passengers and travel up to 6,850 kms. with sharklets, greatly increasing the radius of tourist/passenger markets which can be serviced by Laguindingan Airport.

 

“Utilizing larger aircraft will not only help meet demand for passenger air travel and logistics to move cargo across the country, but also allow more travelers to avail our year-round lowest fares,” said  Atty JR Mantaring, Cebu Pacific Vice President for Corporate Affairs.

 

In fact, Cebu Pacific is fielding eight additional weekly flights between Manila and Cagayan de Oro by July 4th, bringing the current 55 flights per week to 63. That will translate to over 2,800 more seats for flights to and from Manila and Northern Mindanao.

 

“The capacity expansion will mean more flights and more travel options for everyJuan. We are optimistic that this will make air travel more affordable and more accessible to a greater number of travelers,” Mantaring added.

 

KIA: Template for Successful Regional Airport Development

 

Budiongan cites the experience of Kalibo International Airport (KIA) in Aklan as an example of how an airport with facility limitations can maximize its potential.

 

Just seven years ago when it had even more limited facilities such as a small passenger terminal building and 1,300 meter runway, KIA was already the fastest growing airport in the Philippines with 50% passenger volume growth in 2010 and the second fastest growing in terms of seat capacity by June 2014 over the previous year (+20%).

 

That’s because it’s the third busiest in the Philippines behind only Manila and Cebu and 4th overall in terms of total domestic and total domestic/foreign flights.

 

KIA has been made a regional operations hub of PAL, Cebu Pacific, AirAsia Philippines and PAL Express. In addition to its domestic flights, PAL also operates regular flights from Busan, charter flights from Guangzhou, while PAL Express operates charter flights to Shanghai and Pudong. AirAsia Philippines operates regular scheduled flights from Seoul and Busan.

 

It operates regular and charter flights by foreign carriers to Asian destinations such as China Airlines (Taipei, Taoyuan), Silkair (Singapore), Tigerair (Singapore), and starting this July, XiamenAir (Fuzhou, Xiamen). Silkair also services domestic connecting flights from Cebu.

 

This year, it welcomed new flights from Hong Kong Express and Pan Pacific Airline.

 

A runway extension project started in 2015 has extended the KIA’s runway to 2,187 meters to comply with international standards, part of a long term P6-billion airport development project.

 

KIA’s runway length has actually already been extended to 2, 560 meters, though not yet open for operations and as yet published in its AIP.

 

As of 2016, Aklan’s 1.9 million annual passenger traffic, P53-billion revenues  and 15,142 flights makes it the top ranked airport in Region VI per Dept of Tourism statistics.

 

The Potential for More Passengers

 

Budiongan expects Laguindingan Airport to exceed the 1.9 million passenger threshold by this year’s end. A Gate 3 is in the works to accommodate Business Class passengers of PAL and moving the Duty Free Shop beside Gate 1 can open up space for an additional 100 passengers.

 

He cites how with basically similar runway facilities and passenger terminal building, KIA was already able to attain that volume servicing A320 and A321 aircraft.

1st Night Flight at Laguindingan by Rich Neri Concepcion

1st Night Flight at Laguindingan by Rich Neri Concepcion

 

“Even the Instrument Landing System (ILS) which we lobbied so hard for in the past is now only used as our back up system since domestic airliners are already using the newer and more efficient Performance Based Navigation (PBN) system since 2015 when the airport was certified for Required Navigation Performance (RPN) systems,” Budiongan said.

 

“With these present facilities servicing the same types of aircraft already deployed on present routes, we can attain a significant increase in passenger volume of up to an additional million passengers even on a 50 percent load factor if the available 18 slots for additional flights are taken up by regularly scheduled and charter flights by domestic and foreign airlines, especially from China and Russia,” he added.

 

Globally Known Destinations

 

However, Budiongan stressed that while the success of KIA can be mainly be attributed to the attraction of its prime tourist destination, Boracay, (accessible by van and ferry through Caticlan) not all the tourists and visitors going through KIA proceed to Boracay.

Combi Tower 2 is home to seven of Seven Seas Water Park many rides

Combi Tower 2 is home to seven of Seven Seas Water Park many rides

 

“It’s equally important we make our flagship destinations better known in social media and at par with foreign destinations in Asia,” he said. “The region has excellent upland developments and beach resorts which can be easily accessed through Laguindingan Airport and emerging big ticket destinations such as the Seven Seas Waterpark and Resort would endear our region even more to domestic and even regional tourists looking out for sand, surf and sun.”

 

It’s only when existing and emerging tourist destinations, packaged by domestic and foreign tour operators, gain parity in the social media and the highly competitive digital tourism market, that foreign airlines would consider Laguindingan worthy of the passenger traffic it can generate for their business.

 

-30-

Share this Post:

Leave a Comment