Baguio City asks DOTr's help in reconstruction of Loakan Airport

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong is trying to convince Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to shell out P160 million to revive Loakan Airport, according to the city’s information office.

The money funds will be used to renovate and upgrade the airport into “… an all-weather commercial airport.”

“In his meeting with the DOTr chief last week, Magalong informed Tugade that PAL Express, a subsidiary of Philippine Airlines has expressed interest to operate five aircrafts for Loakan Airport.” the information office said in a posting on Facebook.

PAL Express is the flag carrier’s low-cost subsidiary.

Tugade was hesitant to fund the program for safety reasons, yet he was open to discuss the matter with PAL pilots.

Airlines deleted Baguio from their list of flight destinations in the 1990s, citing landing difficulties on the 1.6-kilometer runway and zero-visibility that happens due to thick clouds.
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According to the city government, at least P160 million will be needed to rehabilitate and upgrade the airport.

Magalong also wants the city government to manage Loakan Airport, not the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

“If this pushes through … houses obstructing the buffer zone of the airport will be removed and human activities such as walking or crossing on the runway will no longer be allowed,” the mayor added.

In a previous resolution, the National Economic and Development Authority’s (NEDA) Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera appealed to the then Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and CAAP to support the airport project.

The RDC suggested that the government address the poor visibility conditions, inadequate navigating and landing systems, traffic safety, and short runway to be able to attract commercial carriers with higher seating capacity.

“In 2013, RDC approved and adopted a study on advancing the Baguio airport program prepared by the technical working group of the Loakan Airport in cooperation with CAAP,” the information office said.

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