232 Million Jolo airport upgrade completed

December 9, 2009

Zamboanga City- The 232 million pesos US aided Jolo airport upgrade project was recently completed by Manila based construction firm CS Santiago Construction Company and turned over to the ARMM Provincial government headed by Gov. Abdusakur Tan.

Governor Tan said that "with a bigger airport, more planes can now fly and land safely in Sulu and accommodate more passengers not only from Manila or Zamboanga, but also from neighboring countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei that make up the East Asia Growth Area as it hasten trade and commerce in the province.” He also thanked the United States government through Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney for funding infrastructure projects in his province.

The project funded by the US government USAid program through Growth for Equity in Mindanao (GEM) Regional Impact Project component, has a budget of $3 million dollars supplemented by 90 million pesos counterpart fund from the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) with a combined total project cost totalling 232 million pesos says Carlos Tan, program director of GEM Infrastructure Identification and Counterpart Management.

“The runway upgrade covers the rehabilitation of the runway, making it durable for heavy aircraft. The design of the upgrading and improvement is intended to accommodate bigger aircraft such as Boeing737s and Airbus 320's,” Carlos Tan said.

The airport expansion and development project hopes to spur economic and trade investment in the island province long torn by armed conflict says Nonoy Go, President of Jolo Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Go said that the expanded runway is expected to be a selling point to major airlines in the country which shunned operating in the airport, and with them future investors, particularly those involved in the Sulu archipelago’s expanding mariculture industry.

Photo is loading...
The airport development project, a partnership between the US and Philippine governments boast a 1,800 meters (ARFL) concrete runway to ensure safer airport operations and higher-capacity air linkages between Zamboanga, Cebu and Manila as well as EAGA countries.
Usman Asgari, OIC airport manager, said the airfield was constructed by the US military in 1944. “It used to be a US airfield covering about 1,000 meters of runway. The Americans used this place at the height of the war against the Japanese,” he said. The macadam airfield was turned over to the Philippine government after the war and accommodated the workhorse of that time C-47 or DC-3, Fokker Friendship and Hawker-Siddily 480 aircraft.

In 1965, then President Ferdinand Marcos ordered the paving and asphalting of the entire runway when he visited the province. The runway was again extended by another 200 meters by Marcos then another 500 meters, Asgari said.

The 1,700 runway was 18 meters wide although only 1,200 meters is paved. It has now been expanded to 30 meters and length stretched from 1,700 meters to 1,830 meters. The airport's total all-concrete runway length is now 1,845 meters by 30 meters.

Engr. Manuel Jamonir, Project Specialist of GEM, said that, “the airport is design to be a 1,800 meters concrete runway. We added an eastward extension of 630 meters and widening to 30 meters.

“The works covered the removal and reconstruction of elevated concrete platform, runway strip clearing, grading and landscaping along the runway up to 75 meters from runway center line at both sides and 60 meters in length from the thresholds”, Eng. Jamonir added.

Jamonir also said that, “the provision of a runway and safety area of 60 meters long at both ends of the runway strip was also included in the runway design. However, the relocation of military and Air force facilities as well as resettlement of residential dwellings affected by the expansion is still to be done as they are also covered in the design of the project”.

On top of that, another 90 million pesos is earmarked for the construction of the new airport terminal next year which in 2008 registered a traffic volume of 18,749 passengers.

Currently, Seair's 18-seater Let 410 commuter plane flies the Zamboanga-Jolo route daily. The airport used to handle as big as PAL Fokker 50 planes and YS-11 of Asian Spirit now Zest Air which service the route years ago until it suspended operations due to corporate takeover.

The airports traffic operation is presently restricted similar to Caticlan airport where it uses only one runway for take-off and landings due to the construction project. Except military use of C-130 for transport of troops, it can only accommodate light commercial aircraft.

“Philippine Airlines [PAL] and Cebu Pacific [CEB] are already studying the viability of opening flights from Zamboanga to Jolo, and possibly direct flights from Manila to Jolo to determine the frequency of their future flights,”Asgari said. Zest Airways [RIT] is also mulling its return to the airport he said.

Jolo Airport. The 1,845 x 30 meters Jolo airport runway showing runway 27 with 400 x 45 meters dimension and 45 meters overrun area. The old airport runway only has 1,200 x 18 meters before it was widened to 30 meters to reclassify it as 3C airport able to accommodate the narrow body jets of major airlines in the Philippines as well those from the BIMP-EAGA region. The airport improvement was a joint project of the Transport Department, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, and the US Agency for International Development. Photo from Manila Standard Today.

1 comment:

  1. 737s & A320s? What are you, dreaming? Linisin muna ninyo ang bakuran ninyo ng mga pulitikong corrupt at extortionist, mga handler ng mga Abu Sayaf bago kayo mangarap!