Tacloban Airport Resumes Operations After One Day Shutdown for Repairs

Tacloban Airport reopened on Thursday, July 10 after shutting down unexpectedly the previous day for emergency pavement repairs. 

Image Source: Interaksyon
At least 38 domestic flights were cancelled on Wednesday after the airport shut for emergency repair work on the airport's pavement. According to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, emergency pavement repairs were necessary on the Tacloban runway.

The closure disrupted the travel plans of at least 2,000 passengers that ended up stranded at the largest airport in the Eastern Visayas as no prior notice was issued by airlines or the Civil Aviation Authority according to passengers. However, Allan Cahingcoy, Officer-in-Charge of the Civil Aviation Authority disputed the claim of passengers, indicating that the temporary closure was announced over local television and radio stations. He added that all airline companies had been informed as well.

"We asked for the understanding of our passengers but at the same time, we cannot afford to compromise their safety and the planes using the airport," said Cahingcoy. The 38 cancelled flights affected passengers travelling on Cebu Pacific, Tigerair Philippines, AirAsia Zest, and PAL Express.

Tacloban Airport was officially shut down as the last flight departed on Tuesday afternoon in order to enable the repair of potholes that were scattered across the 2.2-kilometer runway. The airport sustained heavy damage as super typhoon Haiyan swept through the region last November. According to local officials, some potholes on the runway were big enough to fit the entire landing gear of an aircraft, resulting in complaints from local airlines.

In total, approximately 60 potholes were repaired with some measuring as large as 5 feet by 10 feet and four inches deep. Officials said that the potholes had been present on the runway for months and were further aggravated by the arrival of heavy C-130 and C-17 military cargo aircraft from the United States at the peak of the international relief efforts to aid the victims of typhoon Haiyan.

Tacloban Airport serves as the gateway to the Eastern Visayas with approximately 13 flights daily to Manila and Cebu. On the day the airport re-opened, sixteen flights were scheduled with Cebu Pacific, AirAsia, and PAL Express to carry outbound passengers and to clear the backlog from the previous day.

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