FUTURE DEV’T. The Tacloban airport's new development render released in 2020. The Department of Tourism regional office here is upbeat that the pronouncement of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to build more international airports in the country will help fast track the development of the Tacloban airport. (Photo courtesy of Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez)

TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Tourism (DOT) regional office here is upbeat that the pronouncement of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to build more international airports in the country will help fast-track the development of the Tacloban airport.
 
DOT Eastern Visayas regional director Karina Rosa Tiopes said the city’s airport is one of the top 10 busiest airports in the country outside Metro Manila, but it is still classified as a domestic airport.
 
“And we are the only airport in that list that is not classified as an international airport. With the statement of the President, we are optimistic that the completion of all the infra(structure) needs will be fast-tracked,” Tiopes said in a phone interview. 
 
The airport, named after President Marcos’ uncle, Daniel Z. Romualdez is the main gateway from Manila and Cebu to Eastern Visayas. It is classified as a Class 1 principal (major domestic) airport by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP). 
 
CAAP data shows that in 2021, the airport was ranked as the 6th busiest airport with 519,158 inbound and outbound passengers. 
 
The airport has more passengers than other international airports, such as those in Iloilo, Butuan, Zamboanga, and Bohol. 
 
In his State of the Nation Address, Marcos enjoined his Tourism and Public Works chiefs to make it more convenient for travelers to go around the country and provide them easier access to remote areas and undiscovered tourist spots. 
 
“To boost our tourism industry, we will first and foremost make basic developments, such as road improvements for easier access to tourism spots. We will also upgrade our airports and create more international airports to help decongest the bottleneck at the Manila International Airport,” he said. 
 
Report posted by the Regional Development Council showed that the construction of the control tower building of the Tacloban City Airport was completed in 2021. 
 
While construction of the control tower building is done, the current project contract does not include items that will completely operationalize the control tower building, such as the furnishing of new equipment or instruments, electrical features, among others. 
 
The RDC said the Department of Transportation has been looking into the provision of the needed funding support for the lacking building features and control tower accessories and instruments to ensure that the control tower is fully operational in time with the completion of the new terminal building targeted this year. 
 
In the past three administrations, there have been several pronouncements from the national government to modernize the city’s airport. 
 
During the Duterte administration, among the projects that started were the airport control tower and new terminal building. 
 
The airport currently has a single-story terminal building, a communications tower and an administrative building. The single-story terminal building consists of the departure and arrival area. 
 
Development of the Tacloban airport has been delayed as it was first included for funding under a Japan International Cooperation Agency yen loan package in 1999, along with the Bacolod-Silay Airport. 
 
The new Bacolod airport was completed in January 2008 while the Tacloban airport project was shelved in September 2008 for lack of funds. (PNA)