City not giving up on airport rehab
BAGUIO CITY – The city government will not give up on its bid to rehabilitate the Loakan Airport and revive it as a commercial airport despite the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP)’s pronouncements that it is no longer viable as a commercial airfield.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan told reporters on Wednesday that the city will continue to convince CAAP and the various airline companies that it is still plausible to operate the local airstrip for commercial purposes.
He said CAAP’s statement was “unfortunate” considering that the city’s airport had operated as a commercial airfield for a long time and that in the years that it ran as such, no notable accidents occurred in the airstrip despite the perceived dangers.
“Not a single accident happened in that airport in all the years that it operated. I recall that there was one accident where a plane crashed in Itogon but that was due to pilot error and not because of the airport’s facilities,” the mayor said.
“We will not give up. We will continue to convince CAAP on the advantages of reviving our airport for commercial purpose the same way that we will continue to convince commercial airlines to establish franchise line for Baguio-Manila. We cannot just give up on that,” the mayor stressed.
The CAAP under director-general William Hotchkiss III in a meeting the other week turned down the city’s proposal for the complete rehabilitation of the Loakan Airport saying it is no longer saleable to commercial airlines due to air safety concerns like precarious terrain and continued presence of clouds.
There was also the problem on the lack of airline franchise to operate routes from Manila as the slots have been filled up.
The CAAP said the city’s airport can better serve now as an aviation airfield hosting only ordinary aircrafts and emergency and military planes.
The city government and the Regional Development Council (RDC) last year appealed to the CAAP and the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) to modernize the airport facilities to boost the tourism industry in the region. – A Refuerzo