Philippine Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade has ordered immediate improvements made to the equipment and terminal facility of Zamboanga International Airport (ZIA) after being dismayed with the current state of the airport in his recent surprise visit.
Tugade, along with Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary for Aviation Manuel Antonio Tamayo and officials of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), went to ZIA on March 11 following a conversation with President Rodrigo Duterte to see for himself the current state of the Zamboanga gateway and make sure that appropriate and scheduled improvements are done.
Tugade, however, expressed dismay over “the sorry state of the small baggage carousel, the lack of appropriate gang chairs and passenger seats at boarding areas,” DOTr said in a statement.
Tugade also discovered multiple potholes two inches deep from the end of runway 09 to runway 27.
To immediately address issues at ZIA, Tugade ordered the immediate procurement of gang chairs to ensure comfortable seats for passengers, as well as new baggage carousel to facilitate efficient baggage handling.
He also ordered CAAP deputy director general for operations Donaldo Mendoza and officer-in-charge deputy director general for administration Ric Banayat to make sure containers of cargo owners do not compromise airport security.
Tugade has also instructed airport officials to immediately start the asphalt overlay for the entire runway to repair potholes and ensure the safety of aircraft and passengers. Sealing of cracks will also start immediately, DOTr said.
The P160-million budget for the asphalt overlay was awarded this year. Asphalt overlay of the whole runway will take several months, as work can only be done at night till early morning when there are no scheduled flights, DOTr noted.