By Ariel Fernandez
Restoration works at the runway of Surigao Airport have been completed with the gateway set to reopen for flights to and from Manila before the end of the year.
The runway rehabilitation was undertaken following heavy damages wrought by a magnitude 6.7 earthquake in 2017 that temporarily limited its operations.
Department of Transportation (DOTr) Assistant Secretary for Procurement and Project Implementation Giovanni Lopez reported that as of 14 October 2019, construction has been completed for the runway to restore additional 340 meters, bringing the current runway length to 1,400 from the previous over 1,000 meters.
This will allow Surigao Airport to resume direct flights to and from Manila. Additionally, flights from Surigao to Cebu can now operate without limitations on passenger load.
In August this year, Lopez and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General Jim Syndiongco led a site visit at the airport, together with Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar.
The inspection was conducted to ensure that contractors VT Lao and Pacific Concrete expedite repair works upon taking over the rehabilitation project in February this year. The DOTr ordered the contractors to return the airport runway’s operational capability to pre-earthquake conditions.
Following the completion of the 1,400-meter runway, contractors will now work on returning the runway to its previous full operational capability at 1,800 meters by the first quarter of 2020.
Lopez noted that the successful runway completion ahead of the November 2019 target is a product of close cooperation among government agencies.
“Secretary Tugade really pushed us to focus on the rehabilitation of the runway of Surigao Airport. The attention to the accomplishment of this project has made all the difference in expediting the resumption of direct flights to Manila. Now, the people of Surigao can maximize their gateway once again,” Lopez said.
DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade welcomed the restoration of the runway not just for the connectivity it shall bring but also for the overall economic development it will give to Surigao del Norte.
“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,” Tugade said