Almost half or 20 of the existing 42 airports nationwide are now capable of handling evening flights, according to the Department of Transportation.
Equipping airports with night-rated capabilities will enable these facilities to serve more passengers, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade has noted.
“Night-rated capacity is important because, without this, our airports can no longer be used after sunset. We are aiming for commercially operational airports in the country today to have night-rated capacities,” Tugade said.
The DOTr aims to have all the country’s 42 airports to be night-rated by the end of the Duterte administration in 2022.
Four airports in the country—Legazpi, Roxas, Dumaguete, and Caticlan—were night-rated in 2017.
Tuguegarao Airport was recently night-rated, while the Naga, Dipolog, Cotabato, and Cauayan airports are targeted to be night-rated this year, according to the DOTr.
The DOTr has recently appealed to the Senate to restore its proposed budget for the night-rating of airports next year.
The Department of Budget and Management has granted a budget of PHP76.1 billion for this project in 2019 which was used for the night-rating of the airports in Panglao, Cauayan, Dipolog, Pagadian, and Cotabato.
The DOTr, however, had proposed a PHP160-billion budget for next year.
Based on the agency’s estimates, the upgrading of an airport for night operation costs around PHP400 million, which consists of the construction and procurement of navigational facilities and equipment, as well as extension of runways.
Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito, vice chairperson of the Senate Finance Committee, has vowed to restore the DOTr-proposed budget, as night-rating of regional airports will help decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and increase tourist arrivals in the country.