MORE airport facilities in the country are being upgraded and readied for night commercial flight operations to further ease problems of air traffic congestion.
Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. said the government is hastening the rehabilitation and expansion works in eight provincial airports—Naga, Tuguegarao, Cauayan, Dumaguete, Dipolog, Cotabato, Pagadian and Ozamiz—to enable them to operate for nighttime commercial flights.
Campos said the expansion works consist mostly of widening of runway for night landing capabilities and terminal improvement.
“This will improve air travel and help decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport,” he said.
Campos said several domestic flights departing from Manila are being crammed during the daytime because of the inability of many provincial airports to receive flights at night.
“This has somewhat contributed to the jamming of the Naia, which has only two runways handling both international and domestic flights,” Campos said.
The lawmaker said provincial airports unable to operate at night also have to send out all their Manila-bound flights during the day.
At present, Campos said only 19 of the country’s 42 airports are able to receive and dispatch night commercial flights. “The 19 will increase to 27, once the eight airports have been set up for round-the-clock operations.”
“There’s no question air travel around the country will be easier for everybody, including foreign tourists, once we get all our airports running at night to maximize their operations,” Campos said.
Campos earlier bared that government has set aside a total of P10.1 billion in fresh funding to modernize the infrastructures of 40 airports in 2018, with Clark International Airport getting the biggest slice of P2.74 billion.
Aside from Clark, other airports set to receive additional infrastructure development funds in the 2018 national budget are:
Kalibo Airport (P920 million), Bicol International Airport (P899.6 million), Tacloban Airport (P716.1 million), Bukidnon Airport (P425 million), Bohol (Panglao) International Airport, (P386.00 million), Laoag International Airport, (P368.5 million), Cauayan Airport (P306.4 million), Dumaguete Airport (P300 million), Calbayog Airport (P245 million), Zamboanga Airport (P221 million), San Jose Airport, Camarines Sur (P200 million), Surigao Airport (P200 million); Ozamiz Airport (P192.2 million), Butuan Airport (P184.00 million), Dipolog Airport (P182 million), Roxas Airport (P169 million), Cotabato Airport, (P161 million), Basco Airport (P145 million), Ormoc Airport (P128 million), Maasin Airport (P122 million), Antique Airport (P110 million), Sanga-Sanga Airport (P100 million), Pagadian Airport (P84.2 million), Tuguegarao Airport (P61.8 million), San Vicente Airport (P50 million) and Virac Airport (P50 million).
Campos said 13 other smaller airports across the country would also get a combined P262.61 million, or an average of P20.20 million each, for infrastructure upgrades.
In its yearend report last year, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said that 2016 was a very productive year for the aviation regulatory agency in charge of air safety and security of aircrafts and airports in the country.
It reported that 19 airport facilities, including Naia which is the country’s premier airport, have already complied and are now capable for night operations.
The other airports are Mactan-Cebu, Clark, Subic, Davao, Laoag, Puerto Princesa, Iloilo, Kalibo, Zamboanga, General Santos, Bacolod, Laguindingan, Tacloban, Butuan, Legaspi, Dumaguete (Runway 27 only), Roxas and Caticlan.
The report also said that the Naia posted an 80.2 percent On Time Performance in its flight departure slot schedules.
Last Oct. 15, travel site Guide To Sleeping In Airports named four airports in the country—Iloilo International Airport, Mactan-Cebu International Airport, Clark International Airport, and Davao International Airport—in the list of top 25 best airports in Asia for 2017.
The travel site also excluded Naia in the list of worst airports in the world.