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Dipolog Airport

Dipolog Airport
Paliparan ng Dipolog
Tugpahanan sa Dipolog
Aeropuerto de Dipolog
Exterior of Dipolog Airport
Airport type Public
Operator Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines
Serves Dipolog City
Location Barangay Minaog, Dipolog City
Elevation AMSL 4 m / 12 ft
Coordinates 8°36′4.54″N 123°20′4.13″E / 8.6012611°N 123.3344806°E / 8.6012611; 123.3344806
Direction Length Surface
m ft
02/20 2,100 6,890 Concrete
Statistics (2009)
Passengers 189,264
Aircraft movements 3,458
Metric tonnes of cargo 1,313
Statistics from the Air Transportation Office.

Dipolog Airport (Filipino: Paliparan ng Dipolog, Cebuano: Tugpahanan sa Dipolog, Chavacano and Spanish: Aeropuerto de Dipolog) (IATA: DPL, ICAO: RPMG) is the main airport serving the general area of Dipolog City, the capital of Zamboanga del Norte, in the Philippines. The airport is one of the busiest in Mindanao, especially considering its classification. The airport is classified as a secondary airport by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), a body of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) that is responsible for the operations of not only this airport but also of all other airports in the Philippines except the major international airports.

In 2005, the airport handled 75,751 passengers. Its passenger traffic has grown at least 52% from year 2000 statistical figures with an average annual growth rate of around 10.4%.


Aerial view of Dipolog Field in 1945
Aerial view of Dipolog Field in 1945

Dipolog field was authorized to be constructed by President Manuel L. Quezon in 1936 after he opened the first bridge linking Dipolog to nearby Dapitan City. The bridge stands to this day as the Quezon Bridge. The 500-meter macadam airstrip was opened in 1937 with then-Vice President Sergio Osmeña inaugurating the airport onboard a Douglas DC-2 of the Philippine Army Air Corps (PAAC) [1].

Airport Development

F4U Corsair at Dipolog Field 1945
F4U Corsair at Dipolog Field 1945

C-47 Skytrain 1945
C-47 Skytrain 1945

The original terminal was made of composite wood material located at the northern side of the runway near the Philippine Constabulary Camp, now Camp Hamac in Sicayab. The airport was used by Japanese zero fighters in 1941 during the World War II military campaign where it was destroyed by American aircraft bombers in 1944. The field was overrun by Filipino guerrilla forces and the military forces of the Philippine Commonwealth in February of 1945 and massive restoration was immediately made to the runway with the aid of US Marine Corps(USMC) engineers. By early March, four division of 16 Vought F4U Corsair fighter bombers and couple of Douglas R4D Skytrain were stationed in the airfield to support the guerrillas, as well as cover the landing of the 41st Infantry Division in Zamboanga on D-day scheduled on the 10th of March. It was completely restored in 1947 with the construction of a longer runway and bigger terminal that was relocated to the eastern side of runway 20. A new access road was also constructed complementing its facility.

Commercial operation by Philippine Airlines commenced in 1952 utilizing a Douglas DC-3 aircraft for routes to and from Cebu City and Zamboanga City. Concreting and expansion of its runway was made in 1974 where a new taxiway and apron was built. A new terminal building was also constructed in 1980 relocating the old terminal to its new location where it stands to this day. A bigger parking area and new access road was opened together with the new terminal. A Control Tower was added in 1991, and new runway lights were installed in 2004.

The airport's strategic location during World War II and the liberation of Zamboanga and Mindanao by American and Philippine Commonwealth Forces in 1945 prompted the national government to develop the field as an alternate airport to Zamboanga International Airport principally for national security reasons arising from natural and man made emergencies. These was made apparent during the tumultuous period of the Muslim Rebellion in the early 70's. Its infrastructure at that time were testament to its strategic importance.

Commercial Traffic

The late 80's saw a dramatic upsurge in foreign tourist arrival. Aerolift Philippines launched flights to Manila using a Beechcraft 1900-C aircraft in 1987.

The airport's commercial viability for growth was established as more flights were mounted by Philippine Airlines prompting the national government to introduce further development. The City Government of Dipolog City incorporated its growth potential in their development strategy plan [2].

In 1992, after extending its runway by 500 meters and constructing a control tower, the airport officially welcomed its first mid-sized passenger jet, a Philippine Airlines Boeing 737-300. On the same year, daily flights to Dumaguete City were introduced by PAL using Short 360 aircraft but was dropped one year later.

In 2002, at least 25% of the passenger traffic bound for Dipolog Airport are composed of foreign tourists [3].

In July 2006, Cebu Pacific launched non-stop service to Manila utilizing an Airbus 319-200 with a seating capacity of 150 passengers.

In December 2006, it registered a maximum traffic of 330 daily passengers on several occasions based on the aircraft's available capacity serving the route with Philippine Airlines utilizing the much bigger Boeing 737-400 with a seating capacity of 180 passengers.

The airport is expected to handle more than 150,000 passengers per year by 2009 or an average of 415 daily passengers, which is equivalent to 3 narrow-body aircraft flights or two flights using one wide-body and one narrow-body aircraft.

Airlines and destinations

A Philippine Airlines Airbus A320 at Dipolog Airport
A Philippine Airlines Airbus A320 at Dipolog Airport
Airlines Destinations
Cebu Pacific Cebu, Manila
Philippine Airlines Manila



Dipolog Airport Terminal Building
Dipolog Airport Terminal Building

The airport has one terminal and a 150-meter by 100-meter apron. The apron is capable of supporting two Airbus A320s and three large general aviation planes simultaneously. There are also plans to expand the apron to accommodate bigger aircraft.

The terminal building, which originally had a capacity of 170 passengers, now has a seating capacity of 300 passengers due to new flights offered by Cebu Pacific. The terminal houses a metal detector and an X-ray machine for fast security check-in of passengers and their baggage.

Dipolog Airport Fire Station
Dipolog Airport Fire Station

Other structures

The airport also has a modern control tower, a Category V fire station with 4 firetrucks and a new parking area complex near the Miss Universe Garden.

The new parking area would have a capacity of 100 vehicles when completed by the end of the year. The old parking area, which had a capacity of ninety vehicles, was partially converted into an airport security buffer zone, to address probable terrorist threats. Forty slots of the old parking area was made part of the new parking area. The city government is expanding again the parking area to accommodate the additional passenger traffic towards the vicinity of the Miss Universe Garden.

There is also a mini-garden at the runway side of the terminal that contains a grotto.

Airport Master Plan

Third Airport Development Project

The Dipolog Airport upgrading project was part of The 1997 Third Airport Development Project, a six-airport package which was supposed to be funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the Philippine government with its counterpart fund [4]. However, the Philippine government failed to provide on the counterpart fund for the $93 million project. The ADB loan was cancelled effective May 31, 2003 [5].

Scope of Work

Designs for rehabilitation and upgrading were undertaken by COWI-NACO JV, with three local sub-consultants: TransAsia, Basic Team and COWI Philippines. [6] The scope of works included:

  1. Runway rehabilitation, extension and widening, and improvements of taxiways and aprons
  2. Grading of safety areas adjacent to the runway
  3. Construction of proper fencing between airside and landside areas
  4. Installation of x-ray equipment
  5. Upgrading of terminal and construction of new cargo building and other support facilities to increase service levels to handle forecast traffic for year 2010
  6. Installation of runway, approach lights and navigational aids in order to meet the international ICAO safety and security standards
  7. Expansion of utility facilities such as water supply and sewage treatment and
  8. Improvements of landside parking facilities.

As of April 2007, only items number one, two, five, six, and seven were not yet implemented due to huge budgetary requirements.

Dipolog City Airport Parking Area was converted to airport security buffer zone. The new parking area was relocated outside the gate and is situated near the Miss Universe Garden.
Dipolog City Airport Parking Area was converted to airport security buffer zone. The new parking area was relocated outside the gate and is situated near the Miss Universe Garden.

Southern Philippines Airport Development Project

DOTC repackaged the project in 2005 into the Southern Philippines Airport Development Project for funding. By 2006, ADB reconsidered Dipolog Airport as one of only three of the six airport projects to be considered for funding based on the request of airline companies operating on the approved airports [7], commercial viability, and passenger traffic [8].

ADB Proposed Project Package

  • Total Project cost estimate: 731 Million Pesos [9] [10]
  • Government Counterpart: PHP 115 million
    • Repair and Completion of shoreline protection structure (seawall) and land reclamation [11] [12] [13].
  • Currency rate conversion: 57 PHP per 1 USD
  • Date of Completion: 2009


  • Runway extension, widening and asphalt overlay of the entire length
    • 2,700 X 45 meters
  • expansion of the taxiway, apron and terminal building
    • apron capacity
      • 1 wide-body Stand
      • 2 narrow-body aircraft Stand
      • 2 General Aviation Stand.
  • construction of cargo building
  • installation of approach lights ILS and radar equipment

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General Info
Country Philippines
Time UTC+8
Latitude 8.601261
08° 36' 04.54" N
Longitude 123.334481
123° 20' 04.13" E
Elevation 12 feet
4 meters
Magnetic Variation 000° W (01/06)
Beacon Yes
Island Group Mindanao I

RDO 122.1

ID Dimensions Surface PCN ILS
02/20 6273 x 98 feet
1912 x 30 meters

Type ID Name Channel Freq Distance From Field Bearing From Navaid
NDB DI DIPOLOG - 389 At Field -

CAUTION Trees on apch to Rwy 20. Houses in apch zone to Rwy 02.
OPR HOURS Opr.2200-0800Z.

Thanks to: www.worldaerodata.com

The content above was published at Airports-Worldwide.com in 2010.
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