The recent improvements made to Calbayog Airport in Samar are seen to contribute to the “development and economic revitalization” of Eastern Visayas through its role of offloading air traffic from neighboring Tacloban Airport, according to a transport official on Wednesday.
In a speech during Calbayog Airport’s inauguration, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director-General Jim Sydiongco said the development of the project included “comprehensive landside and airside facilities” such as the new passenger terminal building (PTB).
“The airport, which can now accommodate jet aircraft operations, an increased terminal capacity of 450 passengers from the previous 76-passenger capacity, will now be able to provide convenient and accessible air travel to the people of Eastern Visayas,” Sydiongco said.
Other improvements completed include the expansion of its apron, a new taxiway, widening of the runway, runway strip grade correction, runway asphalt overlay, construction of runway safety marker, new parking area, construction of a security fence, and the construction of its drainage system.
He said the development project altogether costs PHP627 million.
He added that there will be more improvements made to the airport including its administration building, fire rescue bay and access road, and a control tower.
During the event, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade emphasized that such efforts help Samar recover from the devastation and challenges brought by typhoon Yolanda and the current coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“Ginagawa natin ang paliparan na ito, upang pagdating ng panahon ng pangangailangan at ‘new normal’, andyan na ang pasilidad, upang sa ganon, ang pagbiyahe ng ating mga kababayan, at ang pag-unlad ng negosyo ay nariyan at naka-kasa na (We’re building this airport so that when the time comes that it is needed, the facilities are already there, allowing Filipinos to travel and support the development of businesses),” Tugade said.
In a press release, the DOTr said the Calbayog Airport, once operational, will serve as a “complementary airport” of the Tacloban Airport.
It noted that the project has provided a total of 1,500 jobs during its construction phase, with 300 more direct jobs expected to be available to locals. (PNA)