By Emmie V. Abadilla

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has completed the P10-billion Zamboanga International Airport in Zamboanga City and the P74-million Jolo Airport project in Sulu, boosting connectivity in Mindanao.

DOTR SECRETARY TUGADE 190719 tugade 07 vicoy 1 - CAAP completes Zamboanga int’l airport and smaller Jolo airport

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade (Photo by Ali Vicoy)

The airport projects will greatly benefit the whole region, noted Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade.

They are just in time for the resumption of commercial operations of most airports, which have been idle during the last 87 days of lockdown due to the pandemic.

“The aviation sector will surely recover,” he maintained “These projects are our way of saying we will get back
on our feet,” he pointed out.

Improvements made at the Zamboanga International Airport include the rehabilitation of its Passenger
Terminal Building (PTB).

The government is also continuing appropriations for the site acquisition of the New Zamboanga International Airport, to be located in the Mercedes – Talabaan area.

CAAP likewise improvemed the Jolo Airport, the only gateway serving the province of Sulu. The completed improvements include the construction of the airport’s Passenger Terminal Building.

Ongoing projects for the Jolo Airport include the construction of its perimeter fence, site acquisition for
its runway extension, relocation and construction of fire station building, construction of an administration
building and correction of the runway strip width.

The newly-developed Zamboanga International Airport is located close to Dipolog Airport, while the nearest gateways to the Jolo Airport are the Zamboanga International Airport, Sanga-Sanga Airport, Ipil Airport, and the Pagadian Airport.

Improvements in the Zamboanga and Jolo airports signify the readiness of the country’s aviation industry to
build regional hubs as the industry transitions to the “new normal” amid the coronavirus pandemic, CAAP Director
General Jim Sydiongco underscored.

“We may have been hit hard by this pandemic but we will always come up with strategic plans to cushion its impact,” he pointed out.

“Apart from our completed airport projects, we have ongoing projects which will be operational soon. These
will promote the use of regional airports to decongest NAIA,” Director General Sydiongco concluded.

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