Zamboanga International Airport (Filipino (Tagalog): Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Zamboanga; Chavacano and Spanish: Aeropuerto Internacional de Zamboanga) (IATA: ZAM, ICAO: RPMZ) is the main airport serving Zamboanga City in the Philippines. The airport is Mindanao's third-busiest airport after Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City and Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro City. It is the gateway to one of Southeast Asia's fastest growing business and culture hubs and to the entire western Mindanao area. The airport covers a total land area of 270 hectares.
The airport is officially classified as an international airport by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, the same agency that runs not only Zamboanga International Airport, but all other airports in the Philippines except the major international airports.
The airport started off as Moret Field, an American airfield that was constructed from a rather poor Japanese airfield just north of Zamboanga. Construction started just after American forces landed at the present location, last March 15, 1945. And there by inside by the Philippine Commonwealth troops in Zamboanga. It was improved by a U.S. Army airfield construction unit using considerable Filipino labor. When completed, the single runway was about 4,500 feet long aligned SW to NE. There were two adjacent taxiways along both sides of the runway with revertment areas. At the peak of operations in 1945, there were about 300 aircraft flying from the airfield. The vast majority were United States Marine Corps aircraft from Marine Aircraft Group 24 which were supporting U.S. Army infantry operations on Mindanao but also ranging down the Sulu area as far as Borneo.
Subsequent improvements increased its capacity to hold flights. The airport used to service nearby international destinations in the past, such as Labuan and Sandakan in Malaysia via Philippine Airlines; these international services were eventually cut. The Philippine Airlines, in particular, cut its services during the Asian financial crisis, when it was struggling to keep afloat.
On December 10, 2004, South Phoenix Airways announced their international flights to Sandakan and Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia, but it was eventually cut due to poor load of passengers. Likewise, Asian Spirit commenced service to Sandakan on May 2, 2007, restarting Zamboanga's international operations. The Zamboanga-Sandakan route and other international routes are expected to grow with the signing of a BIMP-EAGA open skies agreement, notably with Indonesia's Sriwijaya Air planning to fly the Zamboanga-Sandakan route.
Zamboanga International Airport, along with all other international airports in the Philippines, was placed under the control of the Manila International Airport Authority under Executive Order No. 341, signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on August 4, 2004. The changes in management were slated to take effect in June 2007, although it is unknown whether or not the change in management did take place.
Due to the US-RP Agreement, the US Air force used the Airport while the Balikatan exercise held on this city. The biggest aircraft to land in Zamboanga International Airport is the Russian Antonov An-124-100 Ruslan made to deliver helicopters and some equipment for the American base here in Zamboanga. North American Airlines Boeing 757-200s were chartered to transport American soldiers from Guam to Zamboanga. Boeing C-17 Globemaster IIIs flying from Okinawa come to Zamboanga every now and then. Gemini Air Cargo's DC-10 was once in Zamboanga Airport for delivery of the materials needed for the US Air Force training.
There were plans to transfer the airport to a 104-hectare lot located between Barangays Talabaan and Taluksangay, possibly making it the largest airport in Mindanao. However, this plan was shelved after the loan application for the project was turned down, resulting in a lack of funding.
Currently, the proposed plan of transferring the present airport in Barangay Sta Maria and Barangay San Roque has finally pushed through with the proposed of the new Zamboanga International Airport somewhere in Barangay Mercedes, Barangay Taluksangay and Barangay Talabaan which is now ongoing as reported.
The national government through the DOTC, alloted 15 million pesos for the feasibility study of the project. In November 2008, Asian Development Bank (ADB) consultants as well as engineers from Davao City conducted occular inspection at the new airport site.
The development of the new airport for Zamboanga will involve approximately 175 hectares of land acquisition, including the areas for PALS and SALS, glide slope, future runway extension and parallel taxiway and 30-meter road right of way for the access road and diversion of existing barangay road.
The project components will include:
Once it is completed, the new international airport will have the following facilities:
December 21, 2007 - The Philippine Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has allotted some P257 million (US$5.2 million) for the improvement of Zamboanga Airport in Zamboanga City.
Earlier, a consortium of international and local investors, offered to construct a modern airport in the city under a build-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme. The proposal was given to the Air Transportation Office (ATO) by the consortium of investors from Germany, France, Japan, Guam and the Philippines. At least 16 international airlines are expected to fly between the city and its neighboring countries per Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) approval.
October 28, 2008 - Zamboanga International Airport Authority has finalize that observers and engineers is going to have an ocular inspection on the area's plan, to see the cost of the project and the other prospect details. It says that everything will start this coming month (November) reporter said.
March 6, 2009 - Released the feasibility study of Zamboanga International Airport Development Project by the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC).
Airlines and destinations
Future and Planned airlines and destinations
The AirAsia Bhd. seek more flights in the Philippines. Mr. Fernandes said he wants to open a new link destinations in the Philippines by this year 2009, particularly in Cebu, Davao, Manila and Zamboanga using Thai AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia.
South East Asian Airlines
Seair has a planned to open a new route destination from Zamboanga to Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) as one of their expansion planned since last year 2008.
Zest Airways (formerly Asian Spirit) discontinued on its service from Zamboanga to Cebu and Sandakan, Malaysia. There's no complete schedule yet for the resuming of their service.
Volume of Air passengers and Air cargo
From year 2001-2009
Zamboanga International Airport has one 2,610-meter primary runway. The dimensions of the runway are 2,610 meters in length by 45 meters in width, is designated as Runway 09/27 and is capable of supporting the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320. The airport also has taxiways that measure 25 meters in width. While the runway can support aircraft as big as the Boeing 747, the airport lacks the necessary equipment to facilitate the landing of large aircraft. There are plans to extend the runway to 3,000 meters, making it capable of receiving even bigger aircraft.
The airport, like all other international airports in the Philippines, has runway lights, which make it possible to support night landings. This makes 24-hour airport operations possible.
The runway is presently being shared between the airport and the Edwin Andrews Air Base (EAAB). Military jets and aircraft land and depart on this runway. At the end of Runway 09 is the street to Barangay Sta. Maria, and a park. This can be a perfect spot to take pictures for departing and landing aircraft. At the end of the Runway 27 is San Roque St., which hosts a large public cemetery. It is also a good spot for plane spotting. Each end of the runway has aprons capable of supporting two Boeing 737s. One of the aprons in the end of Runway 9 is being used by the Philippine Air Force. OV-10s, C-130s, and other Air Force and military aircraft are parked there. While the apron at the end of Runway 27 is available, but need repairs.
The airport has one terminal and a 30,000 square-meter apron. The apron has two taxiways. The apron is capable of supporting 4 Airbus A320s and eight large general aviation planes simultaneously. There are also plans to add another apron across the old apron, so that it can accommodate many aircraft at the same time.
The terminal building has a capacity of 400 passengers. The terminal houses a metal detector and an X-ray machine, both located at the main entrance of the airport and before entering the Pre-Departure Area. The terminal also has 2 baggage carousels and push carts for passengers' baggage. The airport has check-in counters for each of the airlines that serve Zamboanga.
Inside the terminal, there is only one store managed by the Air Transportation Office. The airport has 3 restrooms. The airport's terminal was designed by an inspired Muslim architect. Outside the terminal are the ticketing office of Cebu Pacific, Asian Spirit and the main offices of Philippine Airlines and Air Philippines. There are also some stores and travel agencies outside the airport terminal.
The airport also has a modern control tower, a fire station with 2 firetrucks. There are hangars on the southwest of the terminal. The hangars are privately owned by some charter and business airlines. An old Swift Air Douglas DC-3 is still on the hangar.
The airport's parking area can accommodate 110 vehicles.
Incidents and accidents
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