Loakan Airport

Coordinates: 16°22′30″N 120°37′10″E / 16.37500°N 120.61944°E / 16.37500; 120.61944
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Loakan Airport

Pagtayaban ti Loakan
Paliparan ng Loakan
The airport in 1983.
Airport typePublic
Owner/OperatorCivil Aviation Authority of the Philippines
ServesMetro Baguio
Opened1934; 90 years ago (1934)
Elevation AMSL1,296 m / 4,251 ft
Coordinates16°22′30″N 120°37′10″E / 16.37500°N 120.61944°E / 16.37500; 120.61944
BAG/RPUB is located in Luzon
BAG/RPUB is located in Philippines
Direction Length Surface
m ft
09/27 1,802 5,912 Concrete
Statistics (2021)
Aircraft movements386
Cargo (in kg)0
Statistics from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.[1]

Loakan Airport (IATA: BAG, ICAO: RPUB) serves the general area of Baguio, Philippines. It is classified as a Class 2 principal (minor domestic) airport by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP). Loakan Airport, the city's only airport, was built in 1934.[2] Its short runway, frequent low visibility, and deep ravines at both ends of the runway continue to challenge pilots greatly, especially when it comes to landing.


Construction and World War II[edit]

Aerial view of landing field at Loakan Valley, circa 1930s

The airport was built in 1934 by the American colonial government.[3] On March 15, 1941, the first flight of Philippine Airlines performed by a Beechcraft Model 18 from Manila's Nielson Field landed at the airport.[4] In December 1941, during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, the airfield was occupied by the 9th Regiment of the Imperial Japanese Army. The area was recaptured by the United States Army in April 1945.[5]

Post-war and eventual closure[edit]

Commercial flights soon commenced to the airport. However, due to the elevation of the airport and navigational difficulties in an event of low visibilities, the airport was dropped by from the flight routes of many airlines. After the 1990 Luzon earthquake, airlines reduced the number of flights to the airport.[4]

During the presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the airport was planned to be closed and converted into an extension of the Baguio City Economic Zone in 2008. That however was discouraged by the officials of the Baguio city government.

During its closure to commercial flights, the airport was used by military and private aircraft.


The airport runway in December 2022.

Plans to revive the airport have been announced by numerous entities over the years.[6] There were attempts to reopen the airport for commercial flights in 2012 and 2015.[7]

In January 2020, the city government of Baguio announced that they were considering a deal from San Miguel Corporation to open and operate the airport in the second quarter of 2020.[8] It had already started moves to ensure that the airport is ready for commercial operations by resolving the issues seen by the CAAP such as the encroachment of residents and obstructions on the runway but have received protests from residents who have legitimate land titles in the area.[9][10]

Although the city government announced the following year that the airport is now ready to receive commercial flights after it has completed the initial steps outlined by the CAAP to address the safety issues for commercial aircraft,[11] a more targeted opening date was not announced until 2022, with the city government announcing that it aims to reopen the airport in November 2022, in time for the Christmas season.[12] It also announced that it will spend around ₱68 million to rehabilitate the airport terminal.[13]

Loakan Airport reopened on December 16, 2022, with Philippine Airlines (operated by PAL Express) launching the first regular commercial flight to the airport in decades to and from Mactan–Cebu International Airport on the day of the reopening.[14]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

PAL Express Cebu

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • On March 30, 1952, a Philippine Airlines DC-3 crashed shortly after takeoff, killing 10 of the 29 occupants on board..[15]
  • On the morning of June 27, 1987, Philippine Airlines Flight 206, a Hawker Siddeley HS 748 from Manila, crashed into the slopes of Mt. Ugo while attempting to land in a monsoon, killing all 50 people on board. A Philippine Air Force Bell UH-1 Huey was lost during recovery operations of that crash.[16]
  • On May 25, 2005, a Philippine Air Force Cessna T-41 crashed right after takeoff. All four airmen died.[17]
  • On April 7, 2009, a Bell 412 presidential helicopter owned by the Philippine Air Force carrying eight key aides of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo crashed into the slopes of Mount Pulag in Tinoc, Ifugao while en route to Lagawe, the provincial capital of Ifugao, after attempting to return to Loakan Airport due to bad weather. Mount Pulag is over 50 kilometers (31 mi) away from Loakan Airport. All on board died and Malacañang mourned their deaths. The key aides were checking the area for a planned visit by President Arroyo to inspect a mountain road project. Because of the disaster, she cancelled her trip. U.S. officials dispatched CH-46 Sea Knights to find the downed aircraft.[18][19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Aircraft, Passenger, and Cargo Movements". Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines. Retrieved November 22, 2022.
  2. ^ Cabreza, Vincent. "In new plan, Baguio airport likely to take off again". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  3. ^ Cabreza, Vincent (October 14, 2022). "Baguio-Cebu flights seen to boost Cordillera tourism". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved November 22, 2022.
  4. ^ a b Cabreza, Vincent (October 14, 2022). "Baguio-Cebu flights seen to boost Cordillera tourism". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved November 22, 2022.
  5. ^ "Loakan Airfield (Baguio Airport)". Pacific Wrecks. Retrieved November 22, 2022.
  6. ^ "Access to Baguio". Archived from the original on August 27, 2013. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  7. ^ "Why can't Baguio's Loakan airport attract commercial flights". Rappler. April 5, 2016. Retrieved November 22, 2022.
  8. ^ "Baguio eyes commercial operation of Loakan airport". The Philippine Star. January 8, 2020.
  9. ^ "110 Loakan structures issued demolition notices". The City Government of Baguio Official Website. Retrieved April 1, 2021.
  10. ^ Cabreza, Vincent (February 28, 2020). "Baguio airport community protests eviction moves". Inquirer.net. Retrieved April 1, 2021.
  11. ^ "Baguio braces for Loakan airport opening". The City Government of Baguio Official Website. Retrieved April 1, 2021.
  12. ^ Cabuenas, Jon Viktor D. (August 28, 2022). "Baguio targets resumption of commercial flights by November". GMA News and Public Affairs. Retrieved August 31, 2022.
  13. ^ Araja, Rio N. (August 28, 2022). "P2.5b set for provincial airports' upgrade". Manila Standard. Retrieved August 31, 2022.
  14. ^ Cabreza, Vincent (December 16, 2022). "Maiden flight of Baguio-Cebu route lands at Summer Capital's only airport". Inquirer. Retrieved December 16, 2022.
  15. ^ Accident description, retrieved November 22, 2022
  16. ^ "Mt. Ugo Mountaineering". Pinoymountaineer.com. November 28, 2007. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
  17. ^ "Baguio plane crash kills future combat pilots". Nordis Weekly. May 29, 2005. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
  18. ^ "Missing govt chopper supposed to return due to bad weather". Archived from the original on April 12, 2009.
  19. ^ "NETWORK - SUNSTAR". SunStar. Archived from the original on April 10, 2009.

External links[edit]