By Mark D. Francisco
CAGAYAN de Oro City––The Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental is expected to accommodate international flights by the last quarter of the year.
Speaking in an event in Ozamiz City, Department of Tourism (DOT) Regional Director Catalino E. Chan III for Northern Mindanao reported that the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) is set to initially authorize flights coming from both Seoul and Busan in South Korea to Cagayan de Oro.
When Laguindingan Airport was built in 2007, it was set to international standard to pave the way for global flights. But when it opened in 2013, it was able to accommodate domestic flights only and CAAP classified it as a Principal Domestic Airport Class I.
The airport has a single 2,1000 x 45 meter runway which can accommodate four plane landings and takeoffs in an hour. Its 7,1854 square-meter passenger terminal can accommodate 2,000 passengers a day.
In 2014, a total of 462,825 incoming passengers passed though Laguindingan Airport disembarking from 6,200 incoming flights.
Converting Laguindingan from a domestic airport to an international one was painstakingly slow. It was only in March this year that it accommodated night flights after navigational equipment was fully installed. Still, there were no red eye flights yet as operations are terminated for the day at 9 in the evening.
Despite that, Mr. Chan was constantly lobbying at CAAP to push for the South Korean international flights citing the large South Korean presence in Northern Mindanao. They rank second among foreign arrivals here with Americans on top in 2014.
By then, Laguindingan would become the 12th international airport in the country.