By Freddie G. Lazaro
Sta. Ana, Cagayan – The Cagayan North International Airport (CNIA) in Lal-lo town is all set to receive its first international commercial flight from Macau on March 23, Secretary Raul L. Lambino, the administrator and CEO of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), said.
“We are ready to open CNIA to East Asia and the North Pacific to commercial flight,” Lambino told Tuesday.
He also announced the updates of activities in the Lal-lo airport during the recent meeting of the Regional Development Council (RDC) of Region 2 held in Santa Ana, Cagayan.
“The first domestic flight by Cebu Pacific to the Lal-lo town airport will follow in April,” he said.
The CNIA in Lal-lo cuts the travel time to 45 minutes, he said, and can now receive the heavier A320s and B737, a strong upgrade from its previous capacity.
“This has been years in coming, but what was so difficult to do, we at CEZA have finally done it,” he said.
“To get to Santa Ana, you don’t have to fly anymore to Tuguegarao City, which is a three-hour-drive to here,” he said.
Lambino said, “We are sending a strong signal to potential locators from Asia and North America that it is no longer business as usual at CEZA.”
“With a new leadership, CEZA can be trusted to do the right things for the medium and long terms,” he said.
The last quarter of 2017 and first two months of 2018 saw CEZA step up the pace of construction of the remaining runway facilities required by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) for CNIA to acquire full aerodrome certificate, he said. These included the development of the Runway End Safety Areas (RESAs) on both ends of the 2.1-km runway, and the runway strip width running along the edges of the 45-meter-wide strip.
The most important installation is the Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI), which helps pilot acquire and maintain the correct approach to an airport, Lambino said. The PAPI was commissioned last month.
He said that all obstruction along the landing path to runway 22 has been cleared, while an additional fire trucks will bolster CNIA’s crash fire rescue capacity.
Turning to CEZA’s infrastructure buildup, Lambino told RDC members that CEZA has listed top-priority projects under its new redeveloped Medium-Term Development Plan.
Among these projects are a tertiary medical center, CEZA’s corporate center, convention center, boutique hotel, and a financial technologies (FinTech) park.
The elements “are vital in the development concept” for the Freeport called Global TransPark, he said.
The system would integrate transport, telecommunications, manufacturing and commercial processes, distribution, technology and education into a “seamless and efficient supply chains for tenants and user of the economic zone and Freeport,” said Lambino.
He reiterated his long-term goal of developing CEZA into the “premier hub for the continuous development of these financial technologies or FinTech.”
Among the products that CEZA will grow are blockchain, bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and financial technologies, international coin offerings, and cryptocurrency exchanges, he said.