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Maasin airport what’s up?

SLT 1255

March 9-15, 2024

SOUTHERN LEYTE – The recent allocation of P2.726 billion to District 1 renewed hope among the province’s constituents for a completed Maasin Airport. However, this was immediately dampened when the 2024 infrastructure budget only included an access road for the airport.    In 2018, the airport’s terminal building was inaugurated. The Department of Transportation has planned to upgrade the 36-hectare airport from a community airfield to a standard principal class 2 airport.     In a recent statement to Southern Leyte Times, District Engineer Manolo Rojas of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) emphasized the agency’s commitment to enhancing Maasin City Airport for commercial flights. The ongoing project, which began in 2022, aims to elevate the airport’s infrastructure to accommodate larger aircraft and improve overall operational efficiency.    One of the prime focuses of the upgrade is the extension of the runway from its current length of 1.3 kilometers to approximately 2 kilometers. This extension will allow for the landing and takeoff of airbuses and Q4 commercial flight airplanes. Additionally, widening the runway from 30 meters to 45 meters will facilitate the smooth flow of airport operations and support various airport facilities.     The comprehensive upgrade includes the construction of essential facilities such as control towers, administrative offices, rescue and firefighting buildings, cargo terminals, and more. These additions are integral to ensuring the airport meets safety standards and provides necessary services for passengers and cargo alike.    Engineer Manolo said that at present, the Maasin City Airport stands at around 75% completed.  He further said that the completion of the airport will depend on the timely allocation of resources and the successful implementation of all planned projects.     The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) will eventually step in to install navigational equipment once the civil works are completed.     Despite the absence of a specific target date for the airport’s completion, Engineer Rojas acknowledges the challenges posed by the terrain and unpredictable weather conditions, indicating a tentative timeline of completion sometime next year.    Meanwhile, Congresswoman Luz Mercado has reportedly spearheaded the ambitious project of upgrading the local airport last 2022 which modernized the facility, with a total investment of 1.423 billion allocated across six consecutive projects.    Aside from the required 2-kilometer runway that still needs to be completed from the existing 1.3 kilometers, the width of the runway will still have to increase from 30 meters to 45 meters for safer and more efficient aircraft operations.    Congresswoman Mercado also said that alongside runway expansion, essential infrastructures such as staff houses, airport control towers, cargo terminals, air rescue rooms, firefighter buildings, and administrative buildings have been constructed to bolster operational capabilities.    She stated that 90% of the projects, particularly those related to airport facilities, have been completed since the initiative’s inception.     In the latest developments, the solon said that a request for funds in 2024 has been approved, with P120 million designated by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and an additional P100 million allocated by the Department of Transportation (DOTR). Upon completion of the runway extension project, the airport will be equipped for night landings, further enhancing its operational capacity and facilitating round-the-clock air travel. A request for additional funds in 2025 aims to address these deficiencies and ensure the airport’s continued growth and safety standards.The Department of Transportation (DOTR) stands as the primary source of funding for the initiative, according to Mercado. (AVista, MCadano) 

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