Zamboanga City - The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) announced that it has decided to postpone the transfer of the old Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro City to the new P 7.8 billion Laguindingan Airport by one-and-a-half months, or to June 15, 2013, in order to avoid disrupting the summer travel plans of passengers.
The DOTC has conducted a walk-through at the Laguindingan Airport and was very pleased with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines' (CAAP) preparations for the intended April 30 opening.
However, the CAAP has received requests from airline companies to postpone the transfer until after the summer peak season, indicating that the April 30 opening would require the cancellation of several daily trips.
According to the airline companies, their representatives were encountering difficulties in reaching a considerable number of passengers, who had already purchased tickets for their April and May flights, to inform them of the changes in their flight itineraries.
''It is in the best interest of the government and of the airlines to deliver safe and convenient services to the public,'' the DOTC said.
''As we took stock of the assessment of both CAAP and the airline companies that the Laguindingan Airport is already a safer alternative to the Lumbia Airport, we again listen to their inputs saying that postponing the transfer will be better for passenger convenience,'' the DOTC said.
Adding that the ''postponement will give the airlines companies ample time to inform their customers of their new flight schedules at the Laguindingan Airport. This will lessen the possibility of disrupting travel plans and causing inconvenience to the riding public.''
The Laguindingan Airport is a key infrastructure project, which is crucial to unlocking the Cagayan de Oro-Iligan Corridor to more tourism- and agriculture-oriented activities.
The government has previously announced that it will be temporarily operated by the CAAP using Visual Flight Rules (VFR) until its air navigation equipment is fully in place by May, 2014.