New Cagayan de Oro airport undergoes dry run
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines—As part of a “dry run” of airport facilities, two test flight landings of a Cessna and Pilatos PC12 aircraft were conducted in the Laguindingan Airport on Tuesday.
“The dry run was needed so airport officials can identify the areas that need improvement,” said Maj. Gen. Artemio Orozco, chief of staff of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.
Orozco said the tests were conducted so pilots could assess if wind conditions in the area were conducive for landings even without the installation yet of navigational instruments and other related equipment. A probing flight for passenger airlines will also be scheduled in the coming weeks.
Capt. Harry Lero, the pilot who flew the Pilatos PC12, said he was impressed with the new airport’s three-kilometer runway.
“The airport is fantastic. It has a long and wide runway which is comparable to the airports in Malaysia and Indonesia,” he told reporters after landing the aircraft.
Even a 747 aircraft could land at the airport, Lerto said, adding that even without without navigational instruments the new airport was safer than the old Lumbia Airport.
Several groups in Cagayan de Oro, led by the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry, have filed a petition to defer the opening of the new airport, as the absence of air navigation and systems support facilities and the reliance by pilots on visual-flight rules would reduce the number of flights to and from the airport as they would be limited during the day only. The acquisition of the navigational instruments is still in the bidding stage.
Currently, there are 25 daily flights at the Lumbia Airport. When the new airport opens, the number will be reduced to eight flights daily.
Undersecretary Julianito Bucayon of the Department of Transportation and Communications said they were constantly in touch with the business sector and have assured them that safety was the primary concern.
“The CAAP and the pilots who have landed the aircraft testified that the airport is safe,” he said.
Among the airport facilities that were tested were the CCTV cameras installed around the building. There is, however, a notable absence of CCTV cameras in the parking and baggage areas, and outside the airport compound.
Roland Recomono, airport administrative officer for transportation and security, said they will be coming up with an airport security plan.
“We want this airport to be a template for other domestic airports,” he said.
The DOTC announced recently that the opening of the Laguindingan Airport will be moved from end of this month to June 15 in light of a request from the airlines to be given more time to rearrange flight schedules.
Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar Moreno welcomed the DOTC announcement.
“I am happy that the DOTC took a step backward in order to take another look to address the concerns of the public,” he said.
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