Magalong keen on upgrading Loakan Airport

Magalong keen on upgrading Loakan Airport

Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong is keen on the re-operation of the Loakan Airport as an all-weather commercial airport.

The mayor already had talks with Mr. Stanley Ng, the president and chief operations officer of the Philippine Airlines earlier this month for a possible venture through the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

He said the CAAP informed him that funding for the modernization of the Loakan Airport will be earmarked by next year.

If this pushes through, Magalong said houses and other structures 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.

“We need to deal with the illegal structures within the airport reservation now,” Magalong ordered.

The City Buildings and Architecture Office led by Architect Johny Degay said at least 300 houses are located within the buffer zone. He said a series of dialogues have already been conducted by the CBAO and the CAAP to the affected stakeholders for them to voluntarily demolish their structures.

Commercial airlines ceased operating in Baguio since the 1990s due to difficulties in landing at the 1.6 kilometer runway of the Loakan airport as well as the zero visibility conditions normally experienced due to thick fog, inadequate navigating and landing system, traffic safety and short runway to be able to attract commercial air carriers with higher seating capacity.

As early as 2019 the mayor already sought the assistance of the DOTr through then Secretary Arthur Tugade to allot funds for the renovation works needed to upgrade Baguio’s Loakan Airport. However, the project was overtaken by events particularly the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2013, the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera approved and adopted a study on advancing the Baguio airport program with at least P160 million funding requirement. – Jessa Mardy P. Samidan