The government is pushing to have all 42 airports in the country night-rated before President Rodrigo Duterte ends his term.
Equipping airports with night-rating capabilities will allow the facilities to accommodate flights even after sunset, which will help provide air travelers with flight options.
Apart from maximizing airport operations, upgrading airport facilities shall likewise help decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
To date, 21 airports have already been night-rated, compared to only 15 in mid-2016. Four additional airports are to be night-rated this year.
“When we came in, we only have 15 night-rated airports. Now, we have 21. Why are we doing this? Because we want our passengers to have an option to travel either in the morning or at night. This will also help us decrease airport congestion in Metro Manila, “ said Manuel Antonio Tamayo, Transportation undersecretary for aviation and airports.
“Secretary [Arthur] Tugade directed us to night-rate all 42 airports before the end of PRRD’s term. We will do that,” he added.
In October last year, Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. said the government was in the process of rehabilitating and expanding 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 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.
Campos also bared that government has set aside total of P10.1 billion in fresh funding to modernize the infrastructures of 40 airports this year, with Clark International Airport getting the biggest slice of P2.74 billion.
Aside from Clark, the other airports with 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.
Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines announced on Monday it is set to inaugurate the Maasin Airport Terminal in Leyte on July 2.
Maasin Airport is one of the community airports under the CAAP National Airport System and it is the only airport serving the region of Southern Leyte.
The facility also served as a backup entry point for relief goods and medicine deliveries during the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda, proving its capability and potential to serve as an alternate airport to Tacloban City’s Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport.