BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — The rehabilitation of Baguio’s airport may soon take off with giant San Miguel Corp. looking to help with the project.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong said that PAL Express has already purchased five airplanes that could fly in and out of Loakan airport while Cebu Pacific has also signified its intention of opening a Cebu-Baguio-Cebu route.
SMC, through Ramon Ang, wants to the city government’s partner in the eventual resumption of operations at the Loakan airport to help bring back the vibrance of the city’s tourism industry, the mayor said.
The city government earlier attempted to work out an arrangement for the Department of Transportation to take over airport operations so the department could look for private partners with experience in running an airport.
Loakan airport was closed to commercial flights over a decade ago because it is difficult to land there, especially in bad weather. It remained open to chartered and military flights, however.
The Regional Development Council in the Cordillera earlier requested the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines for funding support of over P420 million to upgrade the Loakan airport.
Magalong disclosed there were overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Mindanao who approached him and inquired if there were direct flights from Mindanao and the Visayas to Baguio City for them to be able to spend their vacation in the city without passing through Metro Manila.
SMC’s Ang, aside from expressing interest in building an elevated highway around Baguio City, reportedly told Magalong that he is interested in operating and managing the Loakan Airport.
The country’s biggest food, drinks and infrastructure conglomerate will use its technical experts to prepare the design and will submit it to Mayor Magalong in due time.
Magalong said the local government of Baguio is open to any recommendations and doable solutions to address the traffic problems of the city.
He assured the public that the city government will try its best to make the Loakan airport operational for commercial flights as soon as possible.