The dreams of every Ormocanon – and even people from nearby municipalities – to have an Ormoc-Manila and Manila-Ormoc flights might come into a reality soon, following the inauguration of the renovated Ormoc City Airport on Thursday, May 9.
Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade, along with Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Deputy Director General for Administration Ricardo Banayat, CAAP Director General Jim Sydiongco, DOTr Undersecretary for Finance Garry de Guzman, and DOTr Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope O. Libiran, graced the trailblazing event. During his speech, Tugade revealed that Congresswoman Lucy Marie Torres-Gomez kept badgering him about the airport’s renovation after Super Typhoon Yolanda damaged the old terminal building in 2013.
“The government is actively pushing for developments in Ormoc to help boost not only the city’s but also Leyte province’s trade, economy, and tourism,” Tugade told the press during the inspection. “Ormoc City is home to natural tourist sites such as Lake Danao, Tongonan Hot Springs National Park, and Alto Peak, the highest mountain in Eastern Visayas,” he went on.
“We want to fix all problems here to encourage airlines to operate here,” Tugade added. “Even if the passenger terminal building is already completed, we don’t want to inaugurate it unless the entire airport complex is fully developed.”
Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez stated that the rehabilitation and re-opening of the Ormoc City Airport will not only benefit Ormocanons as it may also cater more passengers coming from nearby towns. Most travelers and tourists have to travel for approximately two hours to reach the closest airport catering to most of the region — Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport in Tacloban City.
“Ormoc is the hub of the northwestern part of Leyte. This is the right place to become a commercial hub for some parts of Leyte, Biliran, and Southern Leyte provinces since we are far from Tacloban City,” Gomez stated.
Just a few days before the inauguration, Ormoc City Vice Mayor Toto Locsin Jr. revealed, during the OrmocDoc’s launching of its newest Philips Access Computed Tomography Scan (CT Scan) machine, that Ormoc-Manila flights will be available very soon. Mayor Gomez backed up Locsin’s statement and confirmed that Leading Edge Air Services Corporation (LEASCOR) expressed to open flights to the northern part of the country.
For starters, the Leading Edge Air Services is a passenger charter based at Clark International Airport. It operates with a fleet of turboprop aircraft. The airline has been operating in Borongan City, Eastern Samar, and Basco, Batanes for quite some time now. Besides LEASCOR, AirAsia has, previously, express its interest in operating in the #theCityOfBeautifulPeople.
The Department of Transportation earmarked a total of P218 million for the rehabilitation of the Ormoc City Airport to accommodate larger commercial aircrafts such as the A320 family. However, it was, previously, revealed that its runway had to undergo widening at the ends to serve as turnaround pads for bigger planes.
The rehabilitation of the Ormoc City Airport, which is one of the three airports on the island of Leyte, is expected to be completed in 2020. Stay tuned for more updates!