SANTA ANA, Cagayan: The P1.67-billion Cagayan North International Airport (CNIA) in Lallo town will start catering to regular flights, to and from Macau and and other destinations in China, by the fourth quarter of the year, according to the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA).
Raul Lambino, CEZA administrator and chief executive officer, said the regular flights would add to the domestic charters the airport had been servicing since 2014.
The airport is managed by the Cagayan Premium Ventures Development Corporation, a company developed through a joint venture agreement (JVA) between the CEZA and a private company.
It will cater two international chartered flights a day to and from Macau to service the air logistics needs of locator Pai Hao Investment Company.
The flights will be hosted by International Pacific Airways, which will be operating an Airbus 320 and a Boeing 737 to transport tourists and casino players.
The airport was completed in 2014 and has been granted a limited aerodrome certificate, renewable every six months, and subject to the conditions set by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
CEZA officials said that in order to accommodate bigger aircrafts like the Airbus 320, Boeing 737, or ATR-72, the airport is now in the process of fulfilling CAAP requirements which include buying and installing new equipment for the control tower, navigational aids, and terminal building.
Lambino said the plan is to establish the airport as gateway to Northern Cagayan, Apayao and Ilocos Norte, providing direct domestic and international flights on a regular basis.
The airport can also be an aerotropolis offering aviation services such as park and hangar hub, aircraft maintenance repair and overhaul, flying schools and other support system for the aviation industry.
“We are now talking with big firms in Hong Kong and Taipei for making use of the CNIA as the parking hub for their airplanes and helicopters,” Lambino said.
Also, the Philippine Air Force has presented a plan for using the airport as their Northern Luzon hub.
The airport was one of the significant infrastructure facilities established by CEZA under then-Secretary Jose Mari Ponce.
In 2005, Ponce took over CEZA when the company was supposedly on the verge of going belly up and managed to turn around the situation.
A government-owned and controlled corporation, CEZA was established through Republic Act 7922 or the Cagayan Special Economic Zone Act of 1995. It was mandated to manage the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport and spur economic growth through investment promotions in the area.