Brand New Airport, Where's the Flights?

Lal-lo's Ghost Haunts its Airport

5 May 2015

“They say that we’re crazy for inaugurating an airport without planes,” Carlos Fabra, a local politician, told reporters about Spain’s Castellón Airport when it opened in 2011 without having signed a single commercial airline operator. “They don’t understand anything,” he said. “[T]his is an airport for people.”

In a similar fashion Juan Ponce Enrile lobbied for the opening of Lallo airport despite Tuguegarao airport merely two hours away.

Four years later, Fabra is in prison for tax fraud, and Enrile also suffers the same fate for pork barrel scam.

But there’s better news for Lallo airport, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines has issued it a Limited Aerodrome Registration on October 9, 2014 with the most unfamiliar name: Cagayan North International Airport, when Lal-lo could end just fine.

Whatever the name, the airport operated by Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport created under the auspices of Senator Enrile under RA 7922 has six months to look for airlines to fly aircraft that will operate at the airport even with up to 29-seater capacity plane. The months has passed and no airline so far.

This time, CEZA become ambitious talking to big airlines in the country to fly Lal-lo even once for posterity sake. The last word from the airport authority is still waiting for concessionaire aircraft to use the airport as they are in the process of talking to Cebu Pacific (CEB), Philippine Airlines (PAL), and other airlines. The talks could be ad infinitum. Meanwhile, Boracay airport has plenty of airlines on cue waiting for the airport to say you're welcome.

CEZA spokesperson Charlotte Collado is upbeat about it. Well it happens to be her job.

“Instead of taking connecting flights, for example, going to Cebu or to any part of the South, they will only have to take a direct flight from here to there,” Collado said.

She is talking of course about Tuguegarao Airport where flights are bound only to Manila and vice versa, never to other parts of the country.

But for an airport without airlines is asking the moon when it could otherwise settle for a moon cake. In the meantime, we pay for the politicians folly of building a brand new ghost airport. At least they are not alone. A ghostly neighbor happens to be close down south. And it also has an international name appended to it.

Like its Spanish counterpart, it is also enjoying tourism boom. Airbus could be better mode of transport, unfortunately they settled for just only the bus to bring them in and out of the airport.

4 comments:

  1. You mean...Where ARE the flights?
    Anyway, the money used to build the airport should have been used in other infrastructure projects...

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  2. Self conceited politicians..another white elephant project! Kawawang Juan!

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  3. Even if they get someone in there, you know that airline will be paying next to nothing for the privilege. For passengers, super low fares, taxpayers won't be so lucky.

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