Gov’t urged to postpone opening of new airport

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11:06 PM April 11th, 2013

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April 11th, 2013 11:06 PM

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—Lawmakers and businessmen here and in the province are calling for the postponement of the opening of the Laguindingan International Airport (LIA) until pieces of equipment required to ensure the airport’s safety are installed.

Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said he and the regional development council have filed petitions to defer the April 30 opening of LIA until the Air Navigation and Systems Support Facilities (ANSSF) is installed.

The ANSSF is a set of instruments and devices that would guide landings, takeoffs and other operations at the airport. The system is expected to be installed in May next year yet.

Without ANSSF, pilots will have to land or take off at LIA using so-called visual flight rules.

Misamis Oriental 2nd District Rep. Peter Unabia supported the call for the postponement of the airport opening. “We can wait until safety concerns are addressed,” Unabia said.

The Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) has also filed a petition to defer the airport opening.

The 391-member CCCI said that the absence of ANSSF and the reliance by pilots on the visual-flight rule will reduce the current 25 flights per day at the Lumbia Airport to just eight flights daily at LIA.

Makabayan senatorial candidate Teddy Casiño said that it is only logical to postpone the airport opening.

Misamis Oriental Gov. Oscar Moreno, however, said the decision was up to the national government.

Moreno said while many concerns about the airport have been addressed, safety is non-negotiable.

At a dialogue in February, Regino Hofileña, administration department head of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, said LIA is safer than Lumbia.

Hofileña said air traffic controllers will help make landing safe at the new airport.

President Benigno Aquino III announced the opening of the LIA during the campaign sortie of the Liberal Party here in February. Bobby Lagsa, Inquirer Mindanao

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