THE Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) said it will inaugurate late this year the first international flights from the Cagayan North International Airport (CNIA).
CEZA administrator and Chief Executive Officer Raul L. Lambino said in a statement that CEZA will launch a chartered service between Macau and Lallo, Cagayan, marking the airport’s first international service.
CEZA is updating its 20-year old master development plan for the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (CSEZFP) given strong demand by foreign investors looking for larger tracts of land for development.
The airport, a joint venture between CEZA and Cagayan Land, is a 45-minute drive to Santa Ana town, where Port Irene is expected to be upgraded with undergoing dredging works, among other improvements, to position it into a major international cargo port and cruise ship terminal.
“We are anticipating a lot of economic activity. That’s why I have called for a review of the master development plan,” Mr. Lambino was quoted as saying in a statement.
Mr. Lambino also said that he has proposed the creation of the Greater Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (GCSEZFP). All 22 municipalities in the two congressional districts of Cagayan will be included in the proposed GCSEZFP.
CNIA has a runway, completed in 2014, that can accommodate single-aisle jets like the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737.
Meanwhile, other projects of CEZA include the development of the 10,000-hectare Fuga Island off Aparri, which straddles international shipping routes to ports in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan.
Mr. Lambino said two foreign firms, one in Asia and the other from the Middle East, have expressed interest in drawing up the new master development plan.
Also among the new infrastructure projects planned are an inter-modal rail facility and expressway that would link the airport in Lallo to Port Irene in Santa Ana, as well as transforming Palaui island into an eco-tourism hub; the construction of a 300-hectare smart city and cyber-park and a 600-hectare industrial park, development of a 30-kilometer white-sand beach featuring a marina, a yacht club and a fish market, and a 72-hole golf course.
“CEZA used to be associated with offshore gaming and imported used cars. Our new positioning is that it will be a growth center for Northern Luzon, a magnet for investors and a mecca for job seekers,” Mr. Lambino said. — Patrizia Paola C. Marcelo