DAVAO CITY-- The local governments of Davao Oriental and Mati City are hopeful that the Imelda R. Marcos Airport, formerly Mati Airport will soon be servicing commercial flights as the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has confirmed the start of repair works in the airport.
The unused airport terminal at the Imelda R. Marcos Airport (Mati Airport)
Mati City Investment and Promotions Officer Tanya Rabat Tan hopes that the airport will soon service flights within the year.
She said Cebu Pacific has expressed interest in flying to the airport located in Dahican, Mati City.
Mati City is home to several tourist attractions in the region which include the famed Dahican Beach with its 7-kilometer stretch of white sand shoreline, Pujada and Waniban Islands, Subangan Museum and the Sleeping Dinosaur land formation.
The city which serves as the capital of Davao Oriental Province has seen a spike of tourist arrivals. In the first three months of 2018, they recorded 98,000 tourist arrivals, a large improvement to the 35,000 tourists recorded in 2013.
Ednar Dayanghirang, chief-of-staff of Davao Oriental Governor Nelson Dayanghirang said the opening of the airport will present more opportunities for the economic development of Mati and Davao Oriental.
“We hope the legal contest of the airport will be resolved very soon and this includes the properties,” Dayanghirang said during his guesting at Kapihan sa PIA media forum
He was referring to the airport whose terminal and apron belonged to the property owned by the Rabats and the runway which belonged to the Rocamoras. The two families of Spanish descent own large tracts of land in the city.
Efforts are underway by the two families to transfer the airport property to the CAAP.
Governor Dayanghirang in an earlier interview said the airport will spur tourism in the province as the long three-hour land travel from Davao City is a setback to tourists.
The airport built in the 1970s was named after former First lady Imelda R. Marcos, a friend of Edith Nakpil Rabat, wife of then Governor Francisco Rabat.
The airport was never used for commercial flights. It currently services some occasional chartered flights and recreational ultra-light fliers. PIA
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