Cagayan airport building hangars for jet-setting Asians


It was supposed to be a secret but the presence of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile had to be explained.

A world-class airport rising out of a rustic town in the home province of Enrile is being harnessed as a hangar for private planes of jet-setting billionaires and executives of top corporations in Asia.

Alfonso Cusi, former chief of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philipiness and general manager of the Philippine Ports Authority during the Arroyo administration, revealed that he was brokering a deal for the entry of a foreign business group to develop the international airport in Lal-lo, Cagayan, as a cheaper alternative for private jets currently docking at the airports in Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou and Shenzhen in China.

“I’m not supposed to divulge details of the project at this point because there are other airports looking to get this lucrative business. There’s a very strong interest outside of the Philippines to set up a venture similar to what we are rolling out at Lal-lo. We’re still finalizing the deal, but we’re confident we will get it,” Cusi said in a phone interview.

Cusi said he was forced to reveal the plans for the Lal-lo airport to explain the presence of Enrile during the initial testing on Tuesday of its 46-meter-wide, 2,200-meter-long runway.

“He was there to witness the progress in the airport which is a key component of the Cagayan Export Zone. But he is not part of the business group investing in the hangar, it’s all foreign,” he said.

Enrile expects President Aquino to inaugurate the $34.2-million northern Luzon gateway, which would have a paved apron and tarmac, a control tower and a 1,000-square-meter terminal building, Cusi said.

But Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a text message last night that the Palace had not received any invitation for the planned opening.


Cusi spoke to the Inquirer amid speculation that Enrile’s visit was timed ahead of Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon’s scheduled inspection on Wednesday of the used-car importation trade at Port Irene, 40 kilometers from Lal-lo.

Biazon decided to visit Port Irene to address concerns that the used-car importers in the area were openly defying a Supreme Court order upholding Malacañang’s ban on second-hand car imports. Some 600 more vehicles arrived at the port a few weeks after the decision was handed down.


Cusi explained that putting up a jet hangar at Lal-lo airport would create a “magnet” for other businessmen to set up shop in the area.

He said the hangar, which had been fortified to withstand typhoons, would be complemented by an aircraft repair and maintenance unit to generate more business in the area.

“We expect pilots and their crew to stay in the airport for a few days so there will be a need for hotel and entertainment facilities in the area. We expect to hire hundreds of Filipinos for the hangar and repair and maintenance facility and they would need housing in the area too. More investors are coming in for trickle-down services like medical needs, flying school, tourism and support systems for the community,” Cusi said.

The rising number of business jets in the region has pushed up rental rates in existing Asian airports as more Gulftsreams, Falcons and Airbuses fight for limited hangar space, he said.

Cheaper rates

“We can build a core client base at Lal-lo airport due to the cheaper airspace rates and fast processing of entry and exit permits in the country compared to other countries. We’re confident that the additional cost of flying from Hong Kong or China to Cagayan would be more than offset by the savings from the rental,” Cusi said.

Cusi said the main target of the Lal-lo jet hangar was the Hong Kong International Airport where no additional hangar space was expected until its scheduled expansion in 2023. “That is a long time to build a relationship with clients. We’re planning to sign 25-year lease agreements in Lal-lo,” he said.—With a report from Michael Lim Ubac

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  • mr dt

    That’s not surprising: we know Apple sources a lot of product — in
    fact almost all of its products — from Asia, where the company has
    had significant challenges with suppliers maintaining legal and ethical
    labor standards, in spite of efforts by CEO Tim Cook and others
    to improve working conditions.
    But it is interesting to see the breakdown. Here’s a partial list of the countries Apple sources product from:

    Mainland China: 331 suppliersJapan: 148 suppliersUnited States: 76Taiwan: 35 suppliersMalaysia: 27Singapore: 25 suppliersPhilippines: 23 suppliersThailand: 17 suppliersUnited Kingdom: 7 suppliersIsrael: 5 suppliersAustria: 4 suppliers

    I guess that’s the definition of a multination corporation right
    there. Overall, with 88 percent of Apple’s supply chain in Asia, only 11
    percent of Apple’s suppliers are in its home country of the United
    States, and even fewer — seven percent — of Apple’s suppliers are in
    Europe and the Middle East.

  • oh_noh

    Pinaka-original na balimbing yang si jpe… from macoy to ninoy, kumikikig pa rin!
    Since kay binay sya ngayon nakataya, ibig kaya sabihin si binay ang magiging susunod na pangulo?
    At kung sakaling matalo ay ready na nman ang isang kudeta o people power?
    I’m sure the younger enrile is now so p*ssed at his dad that this issue came out during these critical times :P

  • ADD

    Sounds good to be true! We already have an international airport in Subic and Ilocos, why build in Cagayan?  What does Cagayan can offer that Subic and Ilocos can’t?

    The fact that Enrile made an inspection makes the smell of corruption prevalent.

    My suspect is Enrile wants to have an airport in Cagayan so he can use his plane anywhere he wants to and be back near his backyard.

    It’s all Enrile’s selfish interest that was considered first and used the HK investment as an excuse. The way he started a coup d’etat during the Cory presidency to further his selfish interest to rule this country.

    Who paid for the construction of the airport? What will happen if only few or none of the investment come? What will prevent Angara to build one in Aurora?  What if the airport will just be used to smuggle drugs?

    Alfonso Cusi, former chief of the Civil Aviation Authority of the
    Philipiness and general manager of the Philippine Ports Authority during
    the Arroyo administration, revealed that he was brokering a deal for
    the entry of a foreign business group to develop the international
    airport in Lal-lo, Cagayan.” – Same people(corrupt), same objective(money), and same reason (greed for money).

    If they name the Airport after Enrile or anyone from his family, Gagohan na ‘to.

    • anritsabol_star

      ampalaya ka ba? bakit ang bitter mo?

    • observer1356

      malamang yang airport na yan ang natsi-tsismis noon pa, na syang ginagamit ng mga mayayamang intsik na nagsusugal dyan sa Cagayan area…

      tsismis lang naman… (kasi walang malakas ang loob at matapang na magsabi ng mga talagang nangyayari)

  • Marco

    Attention Pinoy. Dapat ngayon palang, subaybayan nyo na ang ikinikilos at pina-plano ng dalawang yan. Si Enrile at Gringo, iisa lang ang likaw ng
    bituka nila. Alam ni Enrile na tagilid na siya kaya malamang na
    manghihikayat na naman yan ng mga kakotsaba nya sa militar para mag coup
    d’etat gaya nang ginawa nila noong panahon kay Cory. Pinoy, advise lang
    ng concerned citizens of the Republic of the Philippines, tutukan mong
    maige ang dalawang mokong na yan (Enrile & Honasan). Huwag totolog-tolog sa kankungan. At isama mo na
    rin tutukan si Lacson dahil 101% sure may mga hidden AGENDA ang mga yan. Mga
    botante, huwag iboto si Jack Enrile dahil wala nang puwang ang mga Enrile
    sa political system ng bansa natin. Dapat rin na huwag manalo si Binay
    sa pagka presidente. Magka grupo ang mga yan, kaya sila-sila lang ang
    nagtatakipan sa mga corruption nila.

  • Jhune

    Kagat tayo sa pakulo ni Juan, sumisikat tuloy ang kanyang Cagayan, pero okey ito sa mga taga Northern mayroon silang pagkakitaan dahil may trabaho, ma lessen ang migration sa Maynila na totoo namang congested na. 

  • kismaytami

    More reasons for chinky drug lords to invest in the Philippines.

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