Tacloban DZR Airport. File photo.
Tacloban DZR Airport. File photo.

TACLOBAN CITY – Businessmen in this city have expressed disapproval over plans to impose a 16-day aircraft restriction at the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport, citing its impact to the local economy.

“It’s summer(and) it could have been a good opportunity for tourists to visit our city and region and help restore the tourism industry badly affected by supertyphoon Yolanda.

Now with the jets not allowed when the resurfacing work will start, tourists arrival will be affected with the high costs of airline tickets, and the trickle down effects to tourism like hotels, restaurants, tour operators, among others,” ” said Jack Uy, president, Tacloban Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (TFCCCI).

Henry Cua, president of the Leyte Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that it is about time that the DOTC should impose a fine to the contractor if he fails to finish the job on time as stipulated in the contract.

Another businessman, who requested for anonymity, suggested that before the start of paving works, the DOTC should make sure an asphalt facility will be at the area for the duration of the repairs.

He recalled that when CAAP implemented limited operation from Sept. 3 to Dec. 22, 2014, the contractor has encountered shortage of asphalt materials for pavement.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) informing airline companies of a new round of aircraft restriction for the Daniel Z. Romualdez (DZR) Airport from April 14 to 30, the dates agreed by government and airline firms, according to CAAP Tacloban area manager Antonio B. Alfonso.

He said this has been the plan after Pope Francis visit last January in order to give way for the scraping and asphalting works of the remaining 338-meters portion of the runway.

“We are improving the vital airport facilities for the safety of the flying public, we need the consideration and understanding of everyone,” Alfonso said.

The runway will be closed to Airbus since the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC)allow the use of 1,440 meters of the runway, just enough for the propeller-driven aircrafts.

The DOTC temporarily stopped the massive repair due to influx of passenger for last year’s Christmas and Pope Francis’ visit to Leyte on January 17. For this new round of repair, CAAP hopes that it will be completed within the timetable.

On March 26, the committee on transportation of the city council conducted an inquiry on the on-going repair and rehabilitation of the runway of the airport being implemented by the DOTC and CAAP with the specifics on the limited operation on April 14 to 30. (PNA)