|Legazpi International Airport
Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Legazpi
The runway of Legazpi International Airport and the city of Legazpi as seen from Ligñon Hill. The terminal is the blue building near the right side of the runway.
|IATA: LGP – ICAO: RPLP|
|Operator||Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines|
|Elevation AMSL||20 m / 66 ft|
Statistics from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.
Legazpi International Airport (Filipino: Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Legazpi, Bikol: Pankinàban na Palayogan nin Legazpi) (IATA: LGP, ICAO: RPLP) in the Philippines is a major airport in the Bicol Region, serving the vicinity of Legazpi, the capital city of Albay. It has a single runway with dimensions of 2280 x 36 meters, longer than those of the former airports of Bacolod (1958 x 30 meters) and Iloilo City (2100 x 43 meters). The airport can handle medium-sized civilian jets and military aircraft.
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The jet age came to Legazpi in the late 1960s and by the 1970s Philippine Airlines (PAL) introduced regular service to/from Manila using British Aircraft Corporation's BAC 1-11s. In the late 1980s PAL introduced Boeing 737-300s. YS-11s provided airlink to Mactan, Cebu, Masbate, and Virac. When PAL phased out the YS-11s and the short-lived Shorts SD-360 'Sunriser,' Fokker 50s replaced them. Before the debilitating labor strike in 1998 which caused PAL to temporarily cease operation, Legazpi Airport served as the airline's hub in Bicol, serving Manila, Cebu, Masbate, Virac, even Catarman in Samar. Today, it serves local clients and transient passengers from southern Camarines Sur and the province of Sorsogon. Currently Legazpi airport charges each departing passenger a one hundred and fifty pesos (P150) terminal fee 
Aside from PAL, Filipinas Orient Airways and Air Manila International served the airport before 1972, the declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines. Through the years, other airlines came and went: Air Philippines for some time served Legazpi with YS-11s and 737-200s. Asian Spirit served Pili for flights to/from Manila and Cebu and has since ceased operations with six million pesos in collectibles from local (Naga or Pili) franchisees. Asian Spirit might introduce flights to Legazpi aside from its sectors in Virac and Masbate. At present, Aboitiz regularly calls on Legazpi. South East Asian Airlines, using the 19-seat LET-410, plies Cebu-Legazpi-Cebu Mondays and Fridays.
When Pope John Paul II visited the Philippines in 1981, his itinerary included the city of Legazpi. The papal plane was a chartered PAL Boeing 727 tri-jet. President Ferdinand Marcos arrived in his own jet; First Lady Imelda and the then-Minister of Defense, Juan Ponce Enrile, arrived with their own retinues on separate jets.
In the mid-1990s, a Harrier jumpjet of the US Marines made an emergency landing here. Nearby Alicia Hotel housed the unexpected guests for days while the aircraft was repaired. During that time, day and night, the airport site became an aviation museum of sorts with curious on-lookers taking a glimpse at the heavily-guarded fighter plane, exactly the same piece used in the Schwarzenegger film True Lies.
On September 15, 2001, coming home from her state visit to Japan, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo flew to Legazpi non-stop from Tokyo using a chartered PAL Airbus A320, highlighting the capability of the airport to handle international air traffic. On November 26, 2003, a Cebu Pacific DC-9-32 brought delegates to the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) convention on a charter flight from Cebu.
Although operating as sunrise-sunset (SR-SS) due to lack of an instrument landing system (ILS), the airport can handle night landings and take-off but only on prior notice. The airport is up for upgrading. No ILS means that low ceiling during inclement weather causes flight cancellations, to the chagrin of passengers. It is only about 12 kilometers from the crater of Mayon Volcano; during eruptions, flights are canceled because of the danger posed by ash fall. The Regional Development Council had previously approved the feasibility study to transfer the airport to a site some 27 kilometers from the crater of Mayon, in barangay Bariis south of Legazpi. Aside from the advantage of being beyond the ashfall's reach, it is midway between Legazpi and the province of Sorsogon and the emerging eco-tourism destination of Donsol with its whale sharks. Of late, some politicians were able to maneuver that the site be transferred to Alobo, Daraga, which at 15 kilometers from Mayon's crater, is only a few kilometers farther from the present runway. Planes using Alobo will take the same approach used at present: through Jovellar/Camalig areas that are prone to ashfall during eruptions; planes will also fly over the urban areas of Daraga and Legazpi. If it will be Bariis, approach/takeoff will be along thinly populated land; even over the sea (Poliqui Bay and Albay Gulf), making 24/7 operations feasible and practical.
In early 2006, the proposed Southern Luzon International Airport was unveiled to the public in major newspapers. It would be built in the municipality of Daraga.
Airlines and destinations
operated by PAL Express
- "Philippine Aircraft, Passenger and Cargo Statistics 2001–2008". March 3, 2009. Retrieved April 21, 2009.
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- Airport information for RPLP at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.