THE DEPARTMENT of Transportation (DoTr) on Friday said flights to Surigao will resume by December after the construction of the quake-damaged runway of Surigao Airport has been completed.

“The construction to restore the runway of Surigao Airport has been completed, with the gateway set to reopen flights to and from Manila before the year ends,” the DoTr said in a statement.

Before the airport’s closure, there were also direct flights between Cebu and Surigao.

The reconstruction of the runway was started after it was damaged by a magnitude 6.7 earthquake in 2017.

The DoTr said that as of Oct. 14, “construction has been completed for the runway to restore additional 340 meters, bringing the current runway length to 1,400 from previously over 1,000 meters.”

Contractors VT Lao and Pacific Concrete will now be focusing on returning the runway to its previous full operational capability at 1,800 meters by first quarter of next year, DoTr said.

The completion of the runway’s rehabilitation was ahead of the government’s Nov. 2019 deadline.

“We are glad that the contractors made good on their word to deliver in accordance with the deadline set. The people of Surigao deserve this development, most especially after a calamity. Let us always remember that air connectivity is closely tied to regional growth,” DoTr Secretary Arthur P. Tugade was quoted as saying in the statement.

Surigao is located in the Caraga Region in the eastern part of Mindanao. — Arjay L. Balinbin