SURIGAO Airport is scheduled to reopen for direct flights connecting to Manila by the end of the year with the expected completion of rehabilitation works on its runway.

The Department of Transportation (DoTr) said in a statement Friday it has hired a new contractor for the airport, which is expected to finish the development project by December.

“As instructed by Secretary (Arthur P.) Tugade, focus shall be given on this project so as to make sure that no further delays will be incurred,” Transportation Assistant Secretary for Procurement and Project Implementation Giovanni Z. Lopez said in the statement.

Surigao Airport has been under maintenance since 2017 when it sustained damage after being damaged in a magnitude 6.7 earthquake.

The DoTr said it hired Pacific Concrete (PC) to take over the rehabilitation works after Herbana Builders, the original contractor, was “terminated due to abandonment of the project that led to its continuous disrepair.”

“According to the revised plan, PC shall complete the ongoing preparatory works for the asphalt overlay of the existing 1,000-meter usable runway and the rehabilitation of the unusable portion that was damaged by the magnitude 6.7 tremor,” the DoTr said.

The new contractor was also tasked to expand the runway by 400 meters by the end of the year, and to add 300 meters more by February 2020 to restore the runway’s full length of 1,700 meters before it was damaged.

“Our priority is to be able to complete the extension of the runway to 1,400 meters by end of this year. A longer runway will enable the airport to accommodate bigger aircraft,” Director General Jim C. Sydiongco of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said. — Denise A. Valdez