CAAP, city agree not to close Loakan airport

BAGUIO CITY  – Officials of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and the local government agreed that Loakan airport will not be closed to air traffic while efforts are being done to look for airline companies willing to fly to and from the city.

Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan personally met with CAAP Director-General Jim C. Sydiongco Tuesday afternoon at the CAAP office in Pasay City wherein both officials agreed to closely work together to sustain the operation of the Loakan airport while working out the required solutions to the identified problems in the area and its surrounding communities.

“We agreed that Loakan airport will not be closed to air traffic while we will be closely working for the continued development of the facilities and addressing the problems on intrusions, animal, and pedestrian traffic, among others,” Domogan stressed.

He claimed CAAP was able to identify alleged intrusions made by some residents in some portions of the Loakan airport. To address the problems of safety of the facility, the intrusions are one of the priority problems that should be resolved by the involved parties while working on the total closure of the runway to motor, pedestrian, and animal traffic.

According to him, CAAP will take charge of the improvement of the access road leading to the community on the other side of the airport, to help convince residents to maximize the use of the access road from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) area to their houses and to lessen their presence on the runway which poses a threat to the aircrafts making use of the airport.

Domogan disclosed CAAP officials also assured him that once that the local government is able to find an airline company that will service the Baguio-Manila-Baguio, Baguio-Clark Baguio, and other destination routes in the Visayas and Mindanao, CAAP will extend utmost assistance to the said company to accomplish the requirements for its planes to fly the desired routes that use the Loakan airport.

Earlier, the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) passed a resolution requesting the CAAP to fund the rehabilitation and upgrade of the Loakan airport to the tune of some P420 million to help convince airline companies to operate commercial flights daily, which would boost the growth of the local tourism industry.

It can be recalled that in 2009 commercial operations of the Loakan airport were abandoned by airline companies that had been servicing the Baguio-Manila-Baguio route because of safety reasons, expensive air fare, and the issue on the unoccupied seats that make their operations a losing endeavour.

Domogan expressed optimism that all the identified issues and concerns regarding the Loakan airport will soon be addressed by both the CAAP and the local government so airline companies can be convinced to service the city, and further contribute to enhancing the growth of the local tourism industry because of the projected influx of foreign and domestic visitors.

He suggested to CAAP officials to consider the rehabilitation, upgrade, and possible extension of the access road from the PMA area considering that the proposed access road from the arrival area via Kennon Road will take some time to be realized, because of problems with owners of private properties that will be affected in the area. By Dexter A. See

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