3 sites for Bukidnon airport: “technically feasible” – CAAP

Bukidnon News.Net official Logo for site2MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/10 April) Three sites inspected for the proposed domestic airport in Bukidnon are “technically feasible,” with the final selection hinging on the economic and financial feasibility of the project, said Raul Glorioso, department manager of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) aerodrome engineering unit.

Glorioso told Bukidnon News the proposed project is still at the feasibility study stage expected to be done in July 2013. After which, he added, they will be ready with recommendations and fund sourcing.

He cited the three sites as an airstrip in Don Carlos, Bukidnon; another area in Cabangahan, Malaybalay City; and in Dabongdabong, Valencia City.

Glorioso said they inspected the three sites during the April 3 to 4 visit of a team he led. The team included a representative from Philjac Inc and Science Vision for Technology, tasked to conduct the feasibility study for the project initially dubbed “Bukidnon Airport Development Project.”

The study intends to determine the air travel demand for Bukidnon and “identify the most suitable site for a new airport. The study also seeks to check the most effective and efficient way to serve the air travel requirements “not only of Bukidnon, but as well as of the Central Mindanao area.”

Glorioso and the team also held a coordination and consultation meeting with different sectors for assistance in providing relevant data and information needed in the study.

Roderico Bioco, president of the Bukidnon Kaamulan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (BKCCII) one of those present in the consultation welcomed the expansion to three proposed sites.

He said they were told that the proposed airport needs at least 180 to 200 hectares and a runway of about 2.1 kilometers. He cited that one issue in airport development is land acquisition.

Bukidnon News reported in August 2012 that the CAAP has recommended the development of the existing airstrip in Maray-maray, Don Carlos, Bukidnon into an international airport based on statements from Bukidnon Vice Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. Zubiri revealed it in a meeting with members of the Bukidnon Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BKCCII) then.

Citing the CAAP’s technical report, a Bukidnon News source said the airport, when developed, can accommodate up to 4C type of aircrafts like Boeing 737 or Airbus 320. The report has also recommended the conduct of a feasibility study to determine the economic viability of the proposed project.

The BKCCI has backed the development of an airport in Bukidnon.

Roberto Tinsay, BKCCI vice president for membership, said they are pushing for it for the benefit of business and development in the province.

“It will boost business in Bukidnon and change the landscape of the business environment in the province,” said Manny James Cudal, chair of the Bukidnon Micro-Small-Medium Enterprise Development Council.

“If you have a fast delivery of goods and services, you have faster returns of investment,” he added.

Cudal said that while the airport needs a big investment, “the return of investment could trickle down to the people.”

“It will pave the way to easier transportation access especially with the transfer of airport operations,” he added, referring to the Laguindingan airport in Misamis Oriental, which is still under construction.

Maite Abellanosa, point person for tourism at the BKCCI, said the transfer of airport operations from Cagayan de Oro (CDO) to Laguindingan is disadvantageous to Bukidnon because it increases travel time and cost.

Malaybalay to CDO is about 104 kilometers and takes at least one and a half hours by land travel, according to the website of the provincial government of Bukidnon. CDO to Laguindingan, on the other hand, is reportedly about 30 minutes apart.

Abellanosa said it is difficult to promote Bukidnon without its own airport.(Walter I. Balane/BukidnonNews.net)