Traders urge caution vs opening airport
CAGAYAN DE ORO—A P7.9-billion airport ordered opened by President Aquino on April 30 still lacks navigational equipment that would make landing there at night safe, according to a business group here.
The Laguindingan Airport, which Mr. Aquino wants to be opened on April 30, does not have equipment to guide pilots landing their aircraft at night.
The new airport does not have what airport experts call Air Navigation Systems and Support Facilities (ANSSFs).
Among the equipment in the ANSSFs are instrument landing system, which tells an aircraft the precise position of the runway; VHF omni-directional radio range; distance measuring equipment; meteorological observing system; precision approach lighting system and precision approach path indicator.
Officials in charge of airport safety, however, said they see no problem with opening the new airport despite the lack of navigational equipment.
Regino Hofileña, head of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) administration department, said pilots would have to rely on “visual flight rule” in landing aircraft in the new P7.9-billion airport in the absence of ANSSFs.
The Laguindingan Airport is being touted as a world-class international airport. It was funded by the Korean Import-Export Bank with counterpart funding from the Philippine government.
Construction started in 2007 and was originally scheduled to end in June 2012. The completion date was moved to this year.
At a visit to the airport site last month, Mr. Aquino ordered its opening in April to “bring progress to Misamis Oriental.”
The Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry is opposing the “premature opening of the airport” because passenger safety could be compromised.
The business group passed several resolutions urging the government to install the needed instruments first before opening the airport.
Hofileña said officials are in the process of installing the needed instruments to make landing at the airport safe. Bidding has started for the pieces of equipment, he said.
Hofileña said without hitches in the bidding process and the purchase of the instruments, the equipment could be installed in the next six months.
Raul Glorioso, head of the Aerodrome Development and Management Service of CAAP, said CAAP is bent on opening the Laguindingan Airport and officials may resort to using equipment from the existing Lumbia Airport.
Glorioso said even if the needed pieces of equipment are not installed, the new airport could still be used but only at daytime.