CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - After series of meetings and discussions regarding safety concerns, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) finally announced the opening of the multi-billion-peso Laguindingan International Airport (LIA) in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental.
It was learned that Capt. John C. Andrews, deputy director-general of the CAAP, made the announcement in his memorandum to all airport operators that the operation of the Laguindingan International Airport will start on April 30, this year.
However, the LIA flights have some limitations, by only using "visual flight rules" (VFR), meaning "as far as your eyes can see" only, airport sources said.
Some business groups and other multi-sectoral groups in Northern Mindanao had tried blocking the scheduled opening due to some concerns, thus premature opening must be postponed. But, this objection was overruled during the series of public hearings conducted here.
They said airline passengers would be uncomfortable with the VFR.
As this developed, they asked the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to place air navigational facilities to ensure the safety of the passengers.
It was also learned that the installation of modern air navigational facilities takes about one year.
Meanwhile, the CAAP's terminal fees - P700 for in international flights and P200 for domestic flights - were also supported by the stakeholders during the public hearing here.
It can be recalled that despite the opposition aired by some local business groups, President Aquino vowed to open the Laguindingan International Airport on April 30.
The President, who recently visited this city, said the airport is now ready for operation, where the influx of passengers would help boost the economy of this city and the province of Misamis Oriental.
The $167.09 million (P7.853 billion) LIA sits on a 4.17 square kilometers site in Barangay Moog, located some 46 kilometers away from the Lumbia Airport here.
It was gathered that with the opening of the LIA, the Lumbia Airport will be turned over to the Philippine Air Force.