The Philippine Star, 05 November 2014
By Lawrence Agcaoili
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is set to bid out a P14.6-billion operation and maintenance (O&M) contract for the Laguindingan airport next month.

Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the government is set to bid out a contract to operate and maintain including an infrastructure component for the Laguindingan airport that was opened in June last year.

“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,” Abaya said.

The more modern Laguindingan Airport replaced the older Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro. It was supposed to be operational way back in 2006. The Lumbia airport served a little over 1.6 million passengers per year

Passenger volume rose sharply and is expected to hit 2.58 million passengers by 2017.

Abaya said the public private partnership (PPP) project would be awarded in the third quarter of next year.

The enhanced 30 to 35-year contract would cover a civil works component worth P14.6 billion including the development and expansion of the cargo terminal building and the runway, and the construction of a new passenger terminal building starting the middle of 2016.

Meanwhile, night landing operations of the Laguindingan airport is set to start within the month as all the air navigation and airfield ground lighting systems have been installed and tested by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

“We are happy to announce that the Laguindingan Airport is now equipped for night landing operations. We hope to activate evening flights by the end of November in order to give the public more flight options as well as to decongest the airport during the day,” Abaya said.

In line with certain policies and procedures of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), officials from DOTC and CAAP are now conducting a joint inspection until Nov. 6 for safety purposes in order to double-check on any possible system defects.

CAAP would then prepare the standard guidelines for arrival and departure procedures for compliance by the airlines using the airport in Northern Mindanao.

After this, CAAP and the airlines would organize flight schedules to ensure orderly operations and to prevent air traffic and terminal congestion.

“Night flights mean more flights and more options for passengers. As the gateway to Northern Mindanao, this development will spur greater economic activity to the bustling business and tourist destinations in Cagayan de Oro, Bukidnon, Iligan, and neighboring areas,” the DOTC chief added.