S. Leyte to get commercial flights

Posted on September 27, 2013

TACLOBAN CITY -- As projects to improve the Maasin Airport in Southern Leyte get underway, the Department of Transportation and Communication (DoTC) plans to introduce commercial flights to the province in the next three years.

Dante A. Lulu, DoTC area manager for Regions 6 and 8, said two projects with a combined cost of P70.5 million are ongoing at Maasin Airport in Barangay Panan-awan.

“We are developing Maasin Airport not just for general aviation but for passenger aircraft. This used to be an airstrip, and now we are slowly improving the facility. The national government will not pour funds if this is not viable,” Mr. Lulu said.

The DoTC awarded in January a P12.92-million runway extension project to Montaño Construction and Development Corp., based in Dipolog City. This will extend the 1,200-meter runway by 195 m.

A P57.58-million contract involving the construction of a passenger terminal building, drainage system, site development and concreting of apron and ramp was also awarded to the same firm three months ago.

“We are also flattening a hill on the approach to the runway to facilitate the building of other structures,” Mr. Lulu added.

The apron and taxiway, designed for the parking of two Fokker aircraft, were completed last year.

Southern Leyte Governor Roger G. Mercado said that Air Asia Zest and Cebu Pacific Air have expressed interest in serving the Cebu-Maasin route.

“This infrastructure would spur economic development and a tourism boom. Its very inconvenient for our visitors now because we are three to four hours away from Tacloban Airport,” Mr. Mercado told BusinessWorld.

The Maasin Airport is presently being used for pilot training using Cessna single engine planes. -- Sarwell Q. Meniano