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Baguio welcomes first passengers at Loakan Friday

Mayor Benjamin Magalong assured during same PAL press conference at BCC that the airport is ready to accommodate the PAL planes with introduction of renovations at the airport including clearing of structures abutting the runway and instruments to help planes land safely. Pigeon Lobien

The first passengers from a Philippine Airline plane will arrive tomorrow, December 16, at the Loakan Airport ending years of not having the country’s first flight destination part of the airlines’ route.

Some 86 passengers will disembark at the Loakan Airport after a two hour flight from Cebu as PAL returns to Baguio, which started the age Philippine aviation nearly 82 years ago. It was in March 15, 1941,  five passengers were flown from Makati to Loakan in Baguio aboard a Beechcraft Model 18 plane that started the age of Philippine aviation –the first in Asia.

The 1.636 kilometer Loakan Airport has been refurbished and widened to welcome the first passengers set foot there at 10:50 AM, two hours after departing from the Mactan International Airport in Mactan, Cebu, on Friday, announced PAL officials during a press conference recently at the Baguio Country Club.

The same plane will carry passengers to Cebu and will leave Loakan at 11:10AM.

“We are very happy to have this chance to serve the people of Baguio City once again, this time with new connectivity to Cebu that links two of the Philippines’ key tourist and business destinations,” said PAL President and COO Capt. Stanley Ng in a press release.

Ng said: “This is a comeback for Philippine Airlines, as we began operations nearly 82 years ago when our first commercial landing took place here in Baguio, the dawn of the Philippines ‘age of aviation’.”

“This direct two-hour flight will ease the burden of hopping on multiple connecting trips via both land and air, and will allow travelers from Northern Luzon to have extra time to enjoy Cebu once they get there,” said PAL Express President Rabbi Ang.

He added: “We are optimistic that this new service will help the ongoing revival of domestic tourism, as the peak holiday season fast approaches.”

The landing of the De Havilland Dash and Series 400 Next Generation plane will also open the newly rehabilitated airport to commercial operations. PAL conducted a series of test flights last November 28 which was supervised by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines which the PAL officials said were success as they tried landing at both approaches.

Ang summed: “The success of our test flight assures us that it is all systems for our comeback to Baguio.”

PAL planes will arrive every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

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