Friday, 22 May 2009

Airport upgrading in Sulu, Tawi-Tawi under way


ZAMBOANGA CITY — Airport runway upgrading ongoing in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi are expected to improve these islands’ air linkages with the rest of the country and help boost the economy of the Sulu Archipelago.

THE SANGA-SANGA (Bongao) airport improvement project in Tawi-Tawi is extending the runway from 1,611 meters to 1,930 meters, and widening it to 30 meters.

Both runway improvement projects are currently more than 50% complete and are expected to be completed by the end of August next year, a statement of the Mindanao Economic Development Council read.

The Jolo airport project in Sulu includes replacing and widening the existing asphalt runway, and extending it from 1,200 meters to 1,845 meters.

The Sanga-Sanga (Bongao) airport runway in Tawi-Tawi is being extended from 1,611 meters to 1,930 meters, and widened to 30 meters.

These main airports in both provinces are being improved and extended through partnerships between the Department of Transportation and Communications, the Civil Aviation Authority, the provincial governments, and the United States Agency for International Development-funded Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) Program.

"These improvements will ensure safer airport operations and higher-capacity air linkages as well as open up more trade, tourism and investment opportunities in the region," the statement quoted MEDCo Chairman Virgilio L. Leyretana, Sr. as saying.

Following the improvements, larger aircrafts used by major domestic carriers, such as A320s and B737s, will be able to land at these airports.

The airport upgrade in Tawi-Tawi is complemented by a bridge-road project which will directly link Sanga-Sanga Island, where the airport is, and the provincial capitol to the largest island of Tawi-Tawi. The project consists of a 8.4-km road connecting the bridges from Sanga-Sanga to the Tawi-Tawi Island highway network, and a 9.3-km road in Sanga-Sanga itself.

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