• Blackout in new airport prompts call on reopening old one

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    The blackout in the newly built Laguindingan airport in Misamis Oriental that has resulted in flight cancellations has prompted a lawmaker to call for the reopening of the old Lumbia airport in the same province.

    Rep. Juliette Uy of Misamis Oriental province made the call in a letter sent to Secretary Joseph Abaya of the Department of Transportation and Communications dated January 29, noting that Lumbia Airport should be reopened for commercial flights since the Laguindingan Airport is not yet at par with international standards due to the absence of air navigational facilities essential to the airport’s operations.

    “The Laguindingan Airport or the ‘Di-Malandingan’ Airport [Airport where planes can’t land] has become a bane to airline passengers, including overseas Filipino workers and business groups from Region 10 who missed their connecting flights due to flight cancellations that could have been prevented if the Laguindingan Airport was opened complete with the navigational facilities needed by an airport facility. What the DOTC should do is reopen the Lumbia Airport for commercial flights until such time that the Laguindingan Airport is fully operational,” Uy said in a statement.

    The dysfunctional Laguindingan airport, Uy underscored, has no VHF Omni-Directional Range Navigation System, a Meteorological Observing System and a Precision Lighting System. As such, its state has been a major concern to local business since it could result in tremendous losses in local economy, considering that flight cancellations severely limit the influx of tourists and investors and affects the financial stability of airline companies, hotels, restaurants and passengers.

    “We believe that since this has not been immediately acted upon by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines since flight cancellations due to simple rain or cloudiness have become the norm at the Laguindingan facility,” Uy added.

    The completion of Laguindingan Airport has been moved back by five months due to the national government’s insistence to open it as a Visual Flight Rule (VFR) airport in June 15, 2013.  The request of the Korean contractor is awaiting Abaya’s approval.

    Once approved, the revised completion of the project will be set in November 2014. LLANESCA T. PANTI

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