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Loakan Airport gearing up for commercial operations this year

Aviation Updates Philippines – The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), the Department of Transportation (DOTr), and the local government of Baguio are gearing up for the anticipated commencement of commercial flights at Loakan Airport this year.

Photo by Storm Crypt, Flickr

Inspecting the airside and landside facilities of Loakan Airport on Wednesday were CAAP representatives, including acting director general Capt. Manuel Antonio Tamayo, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, Philippine Airlines President and COO Capt. Stanley Ng, PAL Express Officer-in-Charge Rabbi Vincent Ang, and other staff.

Prior to the resumption of flights, improvements have to be made to ensure safety of passengers and crew.

According to a report from The Manila Times, CAAP was able to secure an initial budget of Php 68 million for the renovation of the airport's passenger terminal building, enhancement of the instrument landing system (ILS), and extension of the runway by 100 meters.

Currently, the Department of Transportation is trying to obtain the necessary environmental compliance certificate from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The aviation agency has finished its survey and is currently resolving technical concerns.

To ensure the security of the aircraft's operations during takeoff and landing at Loakan, identified structural obstructions will also be addressed. In accordance with CAAP guidelines, the runway and airport perimeter are now completely off-limits to the general public.

In a Facebook post, PAL Spokesperson Cielo Villaluna hinted at the possible resumption of the national flag carrier’s flights to Baguio soon. 

“Baguio will always hold a special place in our hearts. PAL's first commercial flight was from Manila to Baguio on March 15, 1941, making the country's Summer Capital its first destination. The flag carrier served the route all the way to 1998,” Villaluna posted.

“So, are we reuniting with our 'first love'? Stay tuned. Exciting prospects ahead.”

Local media outlets have reported that a thrice-weekly Cebu-Loakan service aboard PAL’s 86-seat De Havilland DHC-8-400 aircraft is in the works. However, the flag carrier has not announced this yet.

In January 2020, Baguio LGU ordered the demolition of at least 110 structures within the Loakan Airport's 150-meter buffer zone in preparation for commercial flight operations.

READ: Baguio City government eyes Loakan Airport reopening, orders demolition of structures within buffer zone

The reopening of the airport to commercial flights coincides with the impending holiday season and the country’s recovery in the tourism industry to both domestic and international markets.

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