By LITO RULONA
Iligan City Lone District Representative Frederick Siao has asked the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to transfer some of the merchandise concessionaires outside the Laguindingan Airport passenger terminal to reduced congestions.
Siao issued this statement following observations posted at Facebook that congestions were always experienced when flight delays at the pre-departure area at the second floor of the said airport.
“So there will be space to expand the pre-departure lounge” and reduce congestion especially when flights are delayed,” he said.
In a press statement, he commended Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade who conducted rounds and inspection at Laguindingan Airport and personally observed the congestions at the pre-departure area.
“I thank Transportation Secretary Art Tugade for inspecting the conditions of the Laguindingan Airport,” he said adding that the airport serves Iligan City, Cagayan de Oro City and the rest of Northern Mindanao.
“We agree with him that we cannot wait for October this year for improvements to happen, especially as regards congestion at the pre-departure lounge,” he said.
Last week, Tugade personally observed and even frowned at the present state and slow pace of improvements at Laguindingan Airport during an inspection as part of his routine in observing transportation facilities.
Tugade specifically mentioned the sad situation of the toilets which is beside a Muslim prayer room.
Tugade said he wanted the improvement works that can be done in the interim to start immediately even if feasibility study for the airport’s rehabilitation will start in the third week of July until October 2019.
The rehabilitation covers the expansion of the terminal, improvement of the ceiling, toilets, and other improvement works.
Tugade said he does not want projects to be on hold just because there is an observation & monitoring proposal.
Siao added a quick solution he observed that pop-up stores as merchandise shops and food stalls outside of the passenger terminal building can be set-up with the necessary security measures to protect the terminal and passengers.
He noted that passenger traffic at the Laguindingan Airport is now at around 2 million passengers a year and gets adversely affected when there are flights delay causes emanating from NAIA and Cebu.
He also said the renovations to be done soon and from October onwards should factor in higher passenger traffic growth than the ten percent that was factored into the design of Laguindingan over a decade ago.
“The transfer of domestic flight operations in Manila to the Sangley airport in Cavite would give domestic flights their own runway, instead of sharing the single runway that NAIA has,” Siao said.
In a Cabinet meeting last month President Rodrigo Duterte already ordered the DOTr to implement its plan to transfer some NAIA flights and operations to Sangley airport in order to decongest NAIA.