DOTC replies Ramos’ query on airport transfer status PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 September 2012 14:04

The Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) has committed to pursue within the medium-term (2011-2016), the development/ improvement of the existing Zamboanga International Airport (ZIA) facilities.

DOTC Undersecretary Rene Limcaoco gave this commitment in a letter to Mayor Celso Lobregat in answer to a resolution authored by District II Councilor Percival Ramos inquiring about the status of the feasibility study on the proposed transfer of the present airport to a new site.

Resolution 493 initiated by Ramos last June 13, 2012, called on the DOTC to brief the City Council about the status of a study conducted by the department on the proposed new ZIA.

In his letter dated July 10, Limcaoco informed the mayor that the study commissioned by the DOTC in 2009 “aimed to review/update previous studies conducted in the past which includes confirmation of the possible new airport site where the existing airport may be relocated one the demand is fully established”.

Based on the study, Limcaoco disclosed, an area in the vicinity of Mercedes and Talabaan was found to be the most preferred site. However, he said, “considering that the proposed site is located near a mangrove and a prime agriculture area, it was recommended by the study that a baseline survey/characterization be undertaken as part of the environmental analysis to fully determine the project’s impact to the environment”.

The DOTC undersecretary  said the level of airport development conceptualized at the new site  as indicated in the study, was based on the air traffic demand projected at that time which was estimated to reach approximately 900,000 by the end of 2010.

“However, based on CAAP records the actual passenger volume recorded by the end of CY 2011, reaches only 804,000”, Limcaoco said stressing that the deficit in traffic demand and the current capacity/ capability of the existing airport’s facilities to handle traffic, “may not warrant, at this time, the relocation of the existing airport at the new site”.

Nevertheless, Limcaoco assured that the existing airport facilities will be included in the medium term plan for development and improvement, as the facilities can still accommodate the present and immediate air traffic demand in the city.

The DOTC official said that the relocatio0n of the airport to the Mercedes-Talabaan area “may be considered once the need is fully established in the future.”

As this developed, Ramos thanked the DOTC through Mayor Lobregat for the prompt response to the City Council resolution saying that the letter clarifies the issue.

The District II councilor hoped that the proposed improvement/ development of the existing airport will definitely push through the soonest possible time, pending the facility’s transfer to another area. — Sheila Covarrubias