By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
The Cagayan North International Airport (CNIA) is now ready to accept commercial flights following its accreditation from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
“We are ready for commercial flights, both domestic and international,” said Secretary Raul L. Lambino, administrator and CEO of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) and Presidential Adviser for Northern Luzon, of the new airport in Lallo town.
Since his assumption as CEZA Chief 14 months ago, Lambino has set his eyes to the opening an international gateway at the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport. It will be a good complement to the Laoag International Airport on the western side of Luzon.
Lambino said that a fully-operational Lallo airport will give major Asian and even global investors easy, convenient access and faster travel time to the Freeport headquartered in Santa Ana, Cagayan.
Along with ICAO, which assigns the airport a four-letter location indicator of RPLH, CNIA has also received an IATA Code Assignment of LLC by virtue of its becoming a member of the International Air Transport Association, revealed Lambino.
Published in the global map of international air travel, both accreditations ensure the airport’s full capacity operation that is likely to turn it into a major entry point in Northern Luzon.
Lambino said the airport is currently operating chartered flights originating from Macau, considered Asia’s casino gambling capital, but its development plan includes a high-tech facility that “will meet the growing demands of our different clients in the near future.”
Since being named head of CEZA in July last year by President Rodrigo Duterte, Lambino has persisted in improving the facilities and safety standards of CNIA in pursuit of the ICAO airport code.
Lambino sits as chairman of CNIA Corporation, a joint venture of CEZA with the private firm Cagayan Land, a subsidiary of First Cagayan Leisure and Resorts (FCLRC), which is one of CEZA’s master licensors for the Freeport’s offshore inter-active gaming industry.
Various foreign groups, Lambino said further, have shown interest in redeveloping the 300-hectare CNIA property into a state-of-the-art logistics aviation hub and one-stop shop with independent revenue-generating assets designed to meet the demands of the aviation industry.
He said CNIA’s masterplan calls for the construction of hangars for aircrafts, VIP jet services, navigational system upgrades and advances, MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) facility, FBO (fixed-based operator) aviation service, airline crew training center, general aviation and commercial flights, among others.
The surrounding land holdings around CNIA are being eyed for development into a locally-inspired business aviation park that would integrate the rich history and culture of Cagayan.