By: Ripples Daily – August 20, 2018

The long-awaited International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) accreditation has been granted to the Cagayan North International Airport and CNIA, limited to a few chartered flights per week, is ready to take the big step.

“We are ready for commercial flights, both domestic and international,” said Secretary Raul L. Lambino, administrator and CEO of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) and Presidential Adviser for Northern Luzon, of the new airport in Lallo town.

Some fourteen months into his post, Lambino has hurdled the final obstacle in his dream to open an international gateway to the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport other than the Laoag International Airport on the western side of Luzon.

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.

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, revaled Lambino.

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 Asia’s casino 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.”

Since being named head of CEZA in July last year by President Rodrigo 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 Corporation, a joint venture of CEZA with the 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 inter-active 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-inspired business aviation park that would integrate the rich history and culture of Cagayan.