The Philippine Star – 

A new airport in Cagayan will soon serve as the main gateway to Northern Luzon, complementing the ongoing flurry of activities at the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport.

In a statement, Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) administrator and Presidential Adviser for Northern Luzon Raul Lambino said the Cagayan North International Airport in Lal-lo town has secured International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) accreditation, initially limiting operations to a few chartered flights per week.

“We are ready for commercial flights, both domestic and international,” said Lambino.

Along with ICAO, which assigns the airport a four-letter location indicator of RPLH, CNIA has also received an IATA Code Assignment of LLC by virtue of its becoming a member of the International Air Transport Association, he added.

Published in the global map of international air travel, both accreditations ensure the airport’s full-capacity operation that is likely to turn it into a major entry point in Northern Luzon.

Lambino said the airport is currently operating chartered flights originating from Macau, considered as Asia’s gambling capital, but its development plan includes a high-tech facility that “will meet the growing demands of our different clients in the near future.”

Analysts said a fully-operational Lallo airport will give major Asian and even global investors easy, convenient access and faster travel time to the freeport headquartered in Santa Ana, Cagayan.

Lambino has hurdled the final obstacle in his dream to open an international gateway other than the Laoag International Airport on the western side of Luzon.

Since being named head of CEZA in July last year by President Duterte, Lambino has persisted in improving the facilities and safety standards of CNIA in pursuit of the ICAO airport code. Lambino sits as chairman of CNIA Corp., a joint venture of CEZA with private firm Cagayan Land, a subsidiary of First Cagayan Leisure and Resorts (FCLRC), which is one of CEZA’s master licensors for the freeport’s offshore interactive gaming industry.

Various foreign groups, Lambino said further, have shown interest in redeveloping the 300-hectare CNIA property into a state-of-the-art logistics aviation hub and one-stop shop with independent revenue- generating assets designed to meet the demands of the aviation industry.

He said CNIA’s masterplan calls for the construction of hangars for aircrafts, VIP jet services, navigational system upgrades and advances, MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) facility, FBO (fixed-based operator) aviation service, airline crew training center, general aviation and commercial flights, among others.

The surrounding land holdings around CNIA are being eyed for development into a locally-inpsired business aviation park that would integrate the rich history and culture of Cagayan.