Monday, January 16, 2012

‘No Tagbilaran airport runway closure,’ Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines

There is no plan to close the Tagbilaran City airport runway and suspend the flights, according to a top Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) official in Manila in dismissing an unverified report.

CAAP Assistant General Manager Ed Costes clarified that if ever there is a runway repair in the future, interruptions in flight schedules are still remote.

He categorically declared these to Gov. Edgar Chatto and Tagbilaran airport manager Edgardo Solis in a phone discussion on Friday to clarify the issue raised on the weekly broadcast of Kita ug Ang Gobernador.

Costes confirmed an allocation for the P30 million runway asphalt overlay, but there is yet no definite schedule for its implementation this year.

But once the runway repair is set, overlay works can be done at night to avoid airport operation interruption, the high CAAP official said.

In himself explaining to the governor, Solis admitted that the issue was triggered by his swift perception of a concrete re-blocking of the runway in the event of crack repair.

This came to his mind in a tourism meeting in the wake of the improvement of the city airport terminal building facilities this month.

CAAP assured the governor that improvement works like the installation of new air-conditioning units and expansion of terminal building’s second floor for bigger pre-departure area start this month.

Before CAAP-Manila’s straight clarification, Chatto immediately called Solis to the Governor’s Mansion to get instant clarification on the alleged runway closure plan.

The governor told the city airport official it would be hard and awkward that he should not first be informed when in fact he was the one constantly following up the P32 million improvement works while preparing for the new Bohol airport on Panglao island.

CAAP will not execute phases of the city airport improvement without coordinating or consulting with the Bohol leaders, particularly the governor, or according them even just the due courtesy of information.

Solis admitted to Chatto that in any essential runway repair or improvement work, his agency should inform the governor and the public in general six to eight months before the implementation.

The Boholanos “should not be caught in the dark,” the governor told the Tagbilaran airport official in a statement made firmer by CAAP-Manila’s own assurance of no flight disturbance if ever runway repair is done.

Costes sounded clearly to Chatto in the presence of Solis that the airport operation shall not be hampered, a position that exactly jibes with the stance of the governor.

The CAAP central official stressed that in the event of a runway repair, which has no final schedule yet despite its allocation in the 2012 budget, an overlay that can be done at night is appropriate to avoid flight interruption.

To be most sure, the governor will formally manifest his position to CAAP-Manila this week so that the latter can in turn formally explain the phases of the city airport improvement, much less on the issue of suspended flights if the runway is repaired.

He will reiterate in his letter against the disturbance of flight traffic at the Tagbilaran airport while awaiting the readiness of the new Bohol airport, which the Aquino administration includes among the country’s top essential infrastructures for public-private partnership execution.

From Solis’ end, Chatto wanted to be briefed on foreseen consequences of the city terminal building improvement such as the need to augment the power transformer which has a capacity for only the existing facilities.


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