Is Laguindingan Airport Ready for June 15?

The Department of Transportation and Communications may be inclined to open the highly anticipated Laguindingan Airport on June 15, 2013 but locals in Cagayan de Oro are not convinced the airport is ready.

Laguindingan Airport is to be a model for future domestic airport development in the Philippines. The P7.8-billion facility was originally scheduled to open on April 30, 2013 but the date was pushed back after airlines requested that the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines delay the transfer of flights until after the summer season in order to minimize disruption to passengers and to permit more time to rearrange flight schedules. The airlines has complained that they were experiencing challenges in communicating changes to passengers who purchased their tickets for flights in April and May.
cebu pacific Laguindingan  airport
Photo Source:

The airport is slated to replace Lumbia Airport making Laguindingan the main gateway to northern Mindanao and Misamis Oriental. The Philippine Airforce is expected to assume control of the older Lumbia Airport. Cagayan De Oro is currently served by four Philippine carriers including Zest Air, Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, and PAL Express.

In spite of the 1.5 month delay in opening the new facility, not all stakeholders are convinced opening in June is the right move.  Representative Rufus Rodriguez recently spoke out urging President Aquino to ensure that "all issues are resolved" to satisfy international standards prior to opening the airport. The Philippine government is concerned that the clock on the warranty period of the contractor is already ticking despite that the airport has not yet officially opened. But Rodriguez along with other local authorities are adamant that they are greater concerns beyond the warranty.

philippine airlines Laguindingan airport
Photo Source: Jedsum/Panoramio

In a letter to the CAAP, Rodriguez raised his concerns that the airport "is no equipped with the proper navigational aids that will allow night-time flights." The CAAP intends to temporarily operate the airport using Visual Flight Rules until air navigation equipment is installed by May 2014. But according to Rodriguez, that would result in the cancellation of fourteen flights which would negatively impact the business community and local economy.

There were also concerns raised regarding the incomplete infrastructure support and alleged lack of power to adequately support airport operations. In order to operate all of the necessary facilities at Laguindingan Airport, a minimum of four megawatts is required but only two are currently available to the airport.
Rodriguez remains insistent that these issues must be resolved before opening the facility to regularly scheduled flights.

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