Laguindingan airport seen as busiest regional air transport hub

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Monday, March 30, 2015

CAGAYAN DE ORO. An Air Asia passenger plane takes off for Manila as another plane, a Philippine Air Lines Airbus A320, waits its turn at the Laguindingan Airport, Misamis Oriental, Sunday. The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines is hoping the airport will become the busiest regional hub. (Froilan Gallardo/Mindanews)


THE arrival of a huge airliner at Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental is seen as a sign of the airport's potential as the region's busiest regional transport facility.

A Cebu Pacific Air Bus A320 operated by Tiger Air landed Sunday night at Laguindingan, the first time a wide-body commercial jet arrived there.

Another Cebu Pacific Air ATR 72-500 turbo prop plane from Mactan in Cebu made the first night landing at the airport last March 12.

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Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and airport manager Engr. Jose Budiongan said the airport would be the "busiest regional transportation hub" after the installation of runway lights, state-of-the-art navigational equipment and purchase of two new fire trucks to ensure safety.

"This airport has been heavily criticized at the start. Many said it is unsafe but now this airport is now among the top airports in the country. This is jubilation," Budiongan said.

Budiongan added they expect air passenger traffic to rise as passengers from Iligan, Marawi, Cagayan de Oro and Valencia cities turned more to air travel to get around the country.

He said that at present Laguindingan caters to 24 flights daily to and from Manila, Cebu, Davao and Iloilo.

"With two more flights coming at nights, increased traffic will surely pick up in the coming months," Budiongan said.

He said the installation of runway lights and state-of-the-art navigation facilities was completed in November last year.

He said that since November, the control tower in Laguindingan has been handling all air traffic, while the old airport in Lumbia, Cagayan de Oro City, is now handling the flights of Philippine Air Force planes.

"It just took a little while before night operations started because major air lines were still studying the profitably of servicing Laguindingan airport," he said.

Department of Tourism Northern Mindanao Director Catalino Chan III welcomed this development.

Chan said the tourism sector was also elated when travel to and from the airport was cut by half, from one to 30 minutes.

He said the prevailing peace and order situation has made the Philippine College of Surgeons reconsider its decision not to hold their convention in Cagayan de Oro following the Limketkai bombing in July 2013.

Chan said the doctors have decided to bring 1,000 delegates to their convention in Cagayan de Oro this year.

"We now have the tourists and the passengers. The airlines will have to fill this increased demand," Chan said. (Mindanews)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 31, 2015.

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