ZAMBOANGA CITY – The long-awaited construction of a new airport in this city has been endorsed as a priority project to the national government for funding, Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said Tuesday.
“A new Zamboanga International Airport (ZIA) project costing P9.87 billion has already been endorsed as priority to the national government by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA),” Salazar said.
Salazar said the endorsement was made by the Mindanao Development Authority (MINDA), citing a study that showed the existing airport in Barangay Baliwasan is no longer viable for future expansions, thus, the need for a new airport location.
A new airport location is also necessary due to the increasing air traffic and accelerating growth of this city in the Western Mindanao Development Corridor, being one of the country’s primary gateways to the Association of Southeast Asian (Asean) countries.
Earlier, the city government asked the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to study the detailed engineering and funding source for the transfer of the airport, which is being pushed the past two decades.
In April, the DOTr commissioned a private contractor to conduct the fourth “Feasibility Study and Master Plan Study for the Development of the ZIA.”
Three feasibility studies have been commissioned by the government for the new airport since 1992.
The transfer of the airport from its current location to barangays Mercedes and Talabaan in the east coast has been pushed since 1996, following the development of the Master Development Plan of this city.
For years, the Regional Development Council (RDC) has been endorsing the new airport project to the national government as a priority.
It was learned that at least 250 hectares of the proposed site for the new airport are owned by private individuals and corporations.
The ZIA Master Plan project was prepared since 1992 by a consortium of Singaporean Consulting firms.
In 2006, the then Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) commissioned a pre-feasibility study that also recommended the transfer of the airport.