TACLOBAN CITY- The repair of the runaway of the Daniel Z. Romualdez (DZR) Airport is expected to be finished by December or a month before the arrival of Pope Francis to this city.

This was disclosed by Efren Nagrama, area manager of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) which runs the operations of the airport.

“Our target it is to finish the repair works in three months time or early December before the arrival of the Pope. We will also assess the situation if by that time, we can bring back the operations of the Airbus,” Nagrama said.

Earlier, Nagrama said that the repair work at the airport could last for about six months.

The Pope, on his visit to this city still reeling from the devastation caused by Supertyphoon Yolanda, will arrive at the DZR Airport reason why the repair of the airport’s runway is being fastrack, Nagrama said.

The airport’s 2. 14 kilometers runway was seen to have developed some potholes partly due to impacts of airplanes landing and taking off and became more vulnerable to potholes when it was submerged by seawaters for hours spawned by the storm surges during the onslaught of Yolanda on November 8,2013.

About 200 tons of asphalt would be consumed during the asphalt overlay work at the Tacloban airport, considered the premier airport in Eastern Visayas.

Repair of the runway of the Tacloban airport, which begun last September 3, has resulted for only small planes or turbo propeller type allowed to land there.

Airbus or Boeing type of planes, which are heavier and bigger, were not allowed to land at the airport pending the repair.

Before the repair work, about 11 Airbus planes uses the DZR Airport coming from Cebu and Manila. Now, only 10 turbo propeller planes are using the DZR airport.

An Airbus plane could accommodate about 180 passengers while a turbo propeller could only accommodate 70 passengers.

Nagrama said that they are fully aware of the impact of the limited operations of the DZR Airport not only to air travel but even to economy of Tacloban and the rest of the region.

Thus, he said, they are doing their best to speed up the repair work aside from the fact that Pope Francis will be visiting Tacloban, the ground zero of world’s strongest typhoon to make landfall.

The Pope will hold his mass at the new tarmac of the DZR Airport on January 17, 2014 visit where he will also dine with about 20 Yolanda survivors.