Loakan Airport test flights set by end of January

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An airline company is set to conduct test flights from Manila to the Loakan Airport that will pave the way for the possible resumption of commercial flights that will help in boosting the revival of the local economy that was heavily impacted by the implementation of the various levels of community quarantine to contain the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the city.

Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong stated that the management of PAL Express signified its intention to conduct test flights from Manila to the Loakan Airport as part of the ongoing efforts to ascertain the viability of the commercial flights and to evaluate and assess the safety issues that had been previously raised for the appropriate action of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), concerned government agencies and the local government.

He added that the City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO) in coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) are now conducting an inventory of the structures that will be demolished and the trees that need to be cut and trimmed for posing obstructions to the flight route of the aircrafts intending to land in the airport.

The local chief executive claimed that CAAP also allocated funds for the overall improvement of the facilities of the airport and the procurement of the required aviation equipment to improve the availability of the required instruments to help convince more airline companies to open their routes to the city.

Last year, the local government and the CAAP were able to identify some 75 structures within the vicinity of the airport which must be demolished after the same were identified as posing obstructions to the landing route of aircrafts intending to land and take off in the Loakan Airport.

However, the mayor stipulated that the number of structures that had been proposed to be demolished might be reduced after the composite teams from the city and the CAAP conducted a series of validations and evaluation of the prevailing situation in the communities around the airport.

According to him, the resumption of flights in and out of the city will play a key role in convincing high-end tourists to prioritize Baguio City as one of their preferred destinations that will help in speeding up the revival of the local tourism industry which is one of the city’s economic drivers as the same had been heavily impacted by the implementation of the various levels of community quarantine over the past 9 months.

He expressed optimism that the upcoming conduct of test flights in the city will be successful so that the interested airline company will be able to sustain their regular flights to allow the resumption of commercial flights that will be patronized by businessmen and other high-end visitors wanting to spend their well-deserved break in the city.

In 2009, commercial flights in the city were stopped after airline companies that previously served the Manila-Baguio route raised safety issues and the absence of sufficient instrument landing instruments to guide airmen.

By Dexter A. See
Photo by Armando M. Bolislis

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