Baguio City Mayor Magalong keen on Loakan Airport reopening

LOAKAN Airport runway.
BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Benjamin Magalong is keen on the reopening of the Loakan Airport here as an all-weather commercial airport after the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) informed him that funding for its modernization will be earmarked by next year.

Magalong said he has met Capt. Stanley Ng, president and chief operations officer of the Philippine Airlines, to discuss the flag carrier’s operations at Loakan.

If the airport reopens, Magalong said, houses and other structures obstructing its buffer zone will be removed and human activities such as walking or crossing on the runway will no longer be allowed.

“There at least 300 houses are located within the buffer zone. We need to deal with the illegal structures within the airport reservation now,” Magalong said.

He said a series of dialogues has been conducted by the City Building and Architecture Office (CBAO) and the CAAP with the affected stakeholders to discuss the voluntary demolition of their structures.

Commercial airlines ceased operating at Loakan in the 1990s due to difficulties in landing on the 1.6-kilometer runway as well as the zero visibility conditions normally experienced due to thick fog, inadequate navigating and landing system, traffic safety, and short runway.

As early as 2019, Magalong sought the assistance of the DOTr through then Secretary Arthur Tugade to allot funds for the renovation needed to upgrade Loakan. However, the project was overtaken by events, particularly the pandemic.