Home » Aviation » DOTC to repair 21 airports

THE Philippine government will repair all 21 airports that flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) said would have to be rehabilitated if it were to continue improving domestic operations from 2006-2011. The Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) will earmark over P3 billion next year to repair trunkline, regional and international airports, including all those endorsed by PAL in June 2005. Transport assistant secretary Roberto Casta–ares said the additional budget would have to be sourced from future general appropriation to fully modernize air transport infrastructure.

PAL earlier requested the government to put up control towers, widen airstrips, construct perimeter fences, expand terminal buildings, and haul refueling and night landing facilities in airports. Immediate upgrade was specifically called for the air stations in Butuan, Cotabato, Legazpi, Tagbilaran, Tuguegarao, Baguio, Zamboanga, and Laoag. PAL also asked DOTC to complete the improvement of airports in Dumaguete, Dipolog, Virac, San Jose, Surigao, Bacolod, and Iloilo, Naga, Antique, Pagadian, Basco, Cagayan de Oro, and Kalibo between 2007 and 2011.

The P3-billion budget, however, will only be used for minor runway overlay, terminal expansion, installation of landing lights and x-ray equipment, apron extension, and air-conditioning of facilities. Documents from DOTC show that the fund will go to airports in Baguio, Laoag, Vigan, Lingayen, Tugeugarao, Bagabag, Intbayat, Cauayan Palanan, Basco, Iba, Plaridel, Puerto Princesa, Marinduque, Busuanga, Calapan, Legaspi, Romblon, Culion, Baler, Pinamalayan, San Jose, Naga, Masbate, Bulan, and Daet, in Luzon. For Visayas, repairs of airports in Virac, Iloilo, Kalibo, Antique, Roxas, Dumaguete, Suquijor, Tagbilaran, Bantayan, Mactan, Tacloban, Ormoc, Maasin, Calbayog, Hilongog, Catarman, and Borongan will be funded. For Mindanao, airports in Zamboanga, Dipolog, Ipil, Pagadian, Ozamis, Cagayan de Oro, Camigiun, General Santos, Mati, Cotabato, Siargao, Bislig, Butuan, Tandag, Jolo, Cagayan de Sulu, Manlabang, Sao, Sanga-Sanga, and Malabang will be improved.

Last week, PAL said it will allot $65 million to modernize its domestic fleet. It uses 30 planes such as A330, A320, and B737 to fly to 18 domestic routes daily. The carrier has been pressed on improving its domestic operation after Cebu Pacific of the Gokongweis ventured into a $670-million domestic refleeting program. PAL and its affiliate Air Philippines hold 60% of the market for domestic flights while rival Cebu Pacific Air has 40%.

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