5 November 2014
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) will open Laguindingan Airport to night traffic effective November 13, 2014 as the aviation regulator winds up testing of the airports US$13.4 million navigational equipments.
"We will issue the appropriate NOTAM (Notice To Airmen) once inspection is completed tomorrow," says CAAP Director William Hotchkiss.
Hotchkiss said standard guidelines for arrival and departure procedures to be used by airlines, general aviation and military at Laguindingan airport are already ready for release based on the results of the final inspections with the airport officially rated and certified for all weather flights a week later.
The newly installed navigational equipments which are undergoing inspection and verification include the airside lighting systems, such as runway lights, ramp, taxiway, approach, beacon and apron lighting systems.
A separate re-verification and re-inspection procedures was made to Precision Approach Path Indicator(PAPI) , Instrument Landing System (ILS), and the Very High Omni-range/Distance Measuring Equipment (VOR/DME) as they are the most important instrument when approaching the airport under poor visibility.
Safety oversight team from Air Navigation System (ANS) are currently doing final checks and calibration of all the navigational instruments to ensure the airport complies with international safety standards.
A separate team from Air Traffic Service (ATS) are also conducting orientation to Air Traffic Controllers assigned at Laguindingan airport.
"We are already doing Performance Based Navigation (PBN) and we are training our ATC personnel there to conduct correct procedure in guiding planes in and out of the airport," Hotchkiss added.
Laguindingan Airport was opened in June 15, 2013 operating under visual flight rules restriction as the airport's navigational component was not yet operational.
As of October 2014, the airport was already serving 1.8 million passengers per annum, beyond the Laguindingan’s rated terminal capacity. By 2017, passenger traffic is expected to balloon to 2.6 million according to DOTC funded studies.
With the airport finally completed, the Transportation Department (DOTC) plans to bid out a P14.6-million enhanced operations and maintenance (O&M) contract for Laguindingan Airport in December 2014 as they draw technical plans for its expansion slated to start next year to address the congestion at the airport which designed capacity was made in 2006.
“Due to years of delay, Laguindingan was already at capacity by the time we opened it last year. To spare future administrations from similar issues, we are incorporating an infra expansion component into the operations contract that we will bid out in December,” DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio A. Abaya said in a statement Tuesday.
Abaya said the contract is a 30 to 35-year Enhanced Operations and Maintenance (Enhanced O&M) concession, scheduled for award within the 3rd Quarter of 2015. It is meant to maintain the airport’s facilities and services at international standards.
The Enhanced O&M’s infra or civil works component will entail the development and expansion of the cargo terminal building, runway extension, and the construction of a new passenger terminal building (PTB) which is readied for bid next year and will be done in three phases beginning in mid-2016.