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Expanded Airport to Rise in Naga City in 2019

The National Economic and Development Authority has approved the expansion and runway re-orientation of Naga City Airport in the province of Camarines Sur. The project is designed to improve air safety, navigation issues, and passenger capacity.

naga airport expansion
Image Source: jef_xavier / Skyscraper City
The P3.5 billion project includes the re-orientation of Naga's single directional approach runway. Due to an obstruction from Mount Isarog, aircraft are currently only able to take-off and land in one direction. Re-orienting the runway will provide aircraft with the option of a dual-approach for take-off and landing. The current runway, 04-22, which currently rests at a North-Northeast orientation, will be re-oriented 90 degrees clockwise to a South-Southeast orientation.

Construction of the new runway will take place in San Jose Pili, Camarines Sur. It is believed that the Department of Transportation will extend the airport's 1.2 kilometre runway to 2 kilometres to accommodate single-aisle jet aircraft such as the Airbus A320. Currently, the airport is only able to accept small turbo-prop aircraft, which have less than half the capacity of an Airbus aircraft.

Air and landside facilities are also expected to be raised to international standards to address the rising demand for tourism and increased passenger traffic. Construction will begin in 2017 following the completion of a detailed engineering plan and will be funded under the General Appropriations Act. Completion of the Naga City Airport project is not expected until 2019.

According to Alec Santos, Chief of the Naga City Municipal Office of Arts, Culture, and Tourism, the redevelopment of the city's airport will undoubtedly lead to a notable increase in tourist arrivals. "At the moment, only sixty-seater turboprops like the Bombardier Q400 and ATR-72 can use the 1.3-km runway, severely limiting the airport's potential," said Santos. "With a longer runway, larger aprons, and a bigger terminal, we can expect larger twin-engined jet planes like the A320 to more than double the number of passengers."

With increased capacity expected in the Naga market, Santos expects airfares to drop, making Naga City a more affordable and attractive tourist destination. "If the airport redevelopment will also include the installation of night time operational facilities and equipment, then we can expect more flights to arrive per day," added Santos. "With larger planes, we are expecting the price of plane tickets to go down significantly, making Naga a more attractive destination to fly to."

Santos remains hopeful that the expansion of the airport will also lead to the expansion of routes and new destinations served from the airport. "We are hopeful that carriers like PAL and Cebu Pacific will realize the potential of linking Naga and Camarines Sur to other urban centers in the country like Cebu, Davao, as well as more popular tourist destination gateways like Puerto Princesa, Kalibo, and Cagayan de Oro," said Santos. He added that there may also be opportunities for direct international flights to Southeast Asian cities.

Meanwhile, the existing runway will remain in operation for cargo operations and general aviation. "This can also open up Naga to smaller airlines like Air Juan that use single engine aircraft to ferry passengers to and from destinations with smaller airports like Busuanga," added Santos. Boutique carrier, SkyJet Airlines, has also expressed interest in serving Naga City in the near future.

Naga City is best known for its popular annual Pe├▒afrancia Festival, which takes place every September. However, the city is also a gateway to other popular excursions in Camarines Sur including the Caramoan Islands and the CamSur Watersports Complex. The city is also home to popular restaurants specialising in modern Bicolano cuisine and many affordable hotels.

6 comments:

  1. Years ago (early 2000's), I used to fly into Naga on a Boeing 737, not sure of the model, on Philippine Airlines. Why did they stop using jets and switch to turbo props? They used to be the only airline flying there at one time a day in the morning on 5 days.

    Did the introduction of Cebu Pacific and their turbo props reduce the demand to the point, that Philippine Airlines changed their equipment to turbo props to remain profitable?

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    1. That was BAC-111, a small British-made jet.

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  2. True, the rise in population in the Bicol region has made land transportation (including PNR rail) very slow and tedious. Last year, I took the airconditioned bus from Legaspi to Cubao and it was a nightmare because when you reach a major town, the traffic almost comes to a halt because of the heavy traffic brought about by tricycles, manual carabao carts, motor vehicles all using the highway. If airports are constructed in major cities like Legaspi, Naga, Lucena, Daet, etc., it will really ease the perennial traffic! You cannot blame Pinoys who can now afford Korean and Japanese cars! It is really appeasing witness and see progress on the one hand and disheartening on the other side because of its consequences - traffic, congestion, accidents, fistfights over traffic right of way, etc. Wow!

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  3. It was not a BAC-111 jet. It was a B737-300. It was costing PAL more to operate the B737 as the runway and location/orientation of the runway has presented itself a lot of penalties -- both ends of the runways are ravines that limited the length to just 1.4 kilometers, the close proximity of NAPOCOR power lines to the runway that limits the angle of approach when landing and take off, the orientation of runway 22 that is facing Mt. Isarog that prompts the jet to fly straight up like a rocket to avoid hitting the mountain. It also required PAL t ofly only ther best pilots in their B737 division as Naga airport happens to be only 1.4 km, just 200 meters longer than the minimum length required for safety to operate B737.

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  4. There seemed to be a disconnect with what Santos mentioned about airfare to go gown if the plane going to Bikol will be replaced by a bigger model. As with my simple understanding, the bigger the plane, the bigger the gas consumption, and considering the current scenario of tourists, what we need to do is to improve and develop the livelihood of the people in the area, especially the farmers, and not to relinquish their farmlands for the sake of money that will be gained by the national and local government in and for this infrastructure. Where would these farmers will find their livelihood? Where would the children go for their allowances and tuition fees? Farming is the only source of these in the area of San Jose and San Agustin, Kabukludan, and Binanuanan. These farmlands are first class farm lands with irrigation. Why would NEDA approved such a project without understanding of the predicament of many farmers in the area?

    As of now, the governor (Migz Villafuerte) should make a program of proper maintenance and development of the beautiful Bikol Region instead of making use of his power to convert farms to meet tourism needs. Why? First, where would the food and main livelihood of the farmers will come? Just as what his father (Ray Villafuerte) did at the Capitol, where most of those who cannot afford and not learned as he is, are making as much as they can through tri-sikad. If you blame them of clogging the traffic, there should be at least a study to help these farmers firsthand so as not to be almost begging for a P10, and navigate the busy Kapitol to the offices.

    2) What are they going to do with the farmers? Pay a meagre amount that will not even be enough to sustain the family.

    I am for development and beautifying of my very own San Jose and San Agustin, this is the place where I grew up, but please make it so that the main source of livelihood will not be affected, but the people will live with dignity and good earning capability.

    If there is anyone who understand the law, who can talk with real heart to help the farmers, please help us.

    So mga parauma na mga kataid mi, saka mga kaibanan na Tatay saka ni Nanay, mga gurang naman pati, asin mayo naman nin ibang makukuanan nin pagkabuhay, saen man ini ipagkakaraag ni Gov Migz? Maherak man po tabi kamo sa mga parauma.

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  5. and i think plane trip going to Bicol are not so demanding as they forsee....sa palagay ko no need for a bigger plane kasi di naman ganun kadami talaga ang turista sa Bicol...saka Naga??? Wala naman masyado makikita sa Naga...historical churches, other tourist attraction are not that good in terms of facilities...i think dapat ayusin muna nila ung mga tourist attraction facilities nila bago sila mag project ng maraming turista...kasi sa plano nila na airpory expansion to increase turista in Naga...that's so malabo...kasi di naman magiging happy turista wala naman mapupuntahan talaga....pls reconsider kasi maraming buhay ang maapektuhan...mr.alec santos sigurado po ba kau sa projection nyo?
    baka namannpo masyado lng tau mapangarapin....

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