I was fortunate enough to travel out of Cagayan de Oro City yesterday, Thursday to be exact, the second to the last day for Lumbia Airport, the old lady at the upper elevations of the city, to close its door. At 10 PM tonight, Friday, the last plane will finally fly out.
At 6AM, Saturday, 15 June, the new airport in Laguindingan municipality will open its doors. It is bigger, more spacious and state of the art. But there will be no love lost as the old Lumbia Airport will get a new lease on life as a military camp.
Lumbia Airport was started by the Americans in the 1930s. During World War II, it was used by the Japanese and the runway extended through forced labor. Over the years, it has been Cagayan de Oro’s premier airport but, has remained small and undeveloped.
As the city has been booming over the past years, naturally, Lumbia Airport has fell behind. Its location is not also good. With heavy rain and fog, most flights can’t land or are redirected back. However, in its history, two accidents happened with the last one crashing in Mt. Lumot.
In my two years of working in this northern city a couple of years ago, it was my main getaway for Manila. I’ve also been coming and going through this terminal over the years and I have been witness to its degeneration and slump with the Departure Hall always at full capacity because of its small space.
But I’m sure manay Cagay-anons will miss the old lady as it was just close, never mind with overcharging taxi drivers, you can still get there on time after having coffee at the city. Now let’s see how will Laguindingan Airport fare, with its distance, more overcharging taxis and long travel time to reach the airport.