International flights in Laguindingan airport urged

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The Laguindingan airport in Misamis Oriental should be opened to international flights to decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Metro Manila, lawmakers from Northern Mindanao on Friday said.

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The 14 lawmakers made the call in a letter to President Rodrigo Duterte, citing that the Laguindingan airport — which services the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, El Salvador and Gingoog as well as the provinces of Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon and Lanao del Norte — is capable of accommodating a limited number of international flights.

“We strongly propose that the Laguindingan airport should be opened to international flights to serve our overseas Filipino workers [OFWs] and travellers from Northern Mindanao and to cater to tourists who wish to visit Mindanao through Cagayan de Oro,” they said.

The lawmakers include Juliette Uy of Misamis Oriental, Malou Acosta-Alba of Bukidnon, Rolando Uy of Cagayan de Oro, Xavier Jesus Romualdo of Camiguin, Jorge Almonte of Misamis Occidental, Mohammad Khalid Dimaporo of Lanao del Norte, Abdullah Dimaporo of Lanao del Norte, Florencio Flores of Bukidnon, Henry Oaminal of Misamis Occidental, Rogelio Neil Roque of Bukidnon, Frederick Siao of Iligan City, Maximo Rodriguez Jr. of Cagayan de Oro, Manuel Zubiri 3rd of Bukidnon and Peter Unabia of Misamis Oriental.

They pitched possible initial destinations as Hong Kong, China, South Korea, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Based on records of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), the four NAIA terminals handled 36.68 million passengers in 2015—higher than NAIA’s maximum capacity of 35 million passengers per year.

The lawmakers also cited that the same MIAA data show that the number of aircraft movements has remained static over the recent years (235,517 in 2012, 236,870 in 2013 and 236,589 in 2014).

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