Dipolog Airport (Cebuano: Tugpahanan sa Dipolog) (IATA: DPL, ICAO: RPMG) is the main airport serving the general area of Dipolog, the capital city of Zamboanga del Norte, in the Philippines. The airport is one of the busiest in Mindanao, especially considering its classification. It is classified as a secondary airport by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), a body of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) responsible for the operations of airports in the Philippines except the major international ones.

Dipolog Airport

Tugpahanan sa Dipolog
Dipolog Airport.jpg
Exterior of Dipolog Airport
Airport typePublic
OperatorCivil Aviation Authority of the Philippines
LocationBarangay Minaog, Dipolog
Elevation AMSL4 m / 12 ft
Coordinates08°36′5″N 123°20′31″E / 8.60139°N 123.34194°E / 8.60139; 123.34194Coordinates: 08°36′5″N 123°20′31″E / 8.60139°N 123.34194°E / 8.60139; 123.34194
DPL/RPMG is located in Philippines
Location in the Philippines
Direction Length Surface
m ft
02/20 2,100 6,890 Concrete
Statistics (2017)
Aircraft movements3,637
Cargo(in kgs)3,717,504
Source: Statistics from eFOI[1]

In 2005, the airport handled 75,751 passengers. Its passenger traffic has grown at least 52% from year 2000 statistical figures with an average annual growth rate of around 10.4%.[2]


Aerial view of Dipolog Field in 1945

During the incumbency of Matias C. Ranillo Sr. as Governor of Zamboanga peninsula in 1937-1941, President Quezon and his daughters Zenaida and Aurora "Baby", were invited to inaugurate the opening of the first bridge linking Dipolog to nearby Dapitan in 1939. The bridge stands to this day as the Quezon Bridge.

The 600-meter macadam airstrip was opened in October 1941, a few months before the outbreak of World War II, by then-Vice President Sergio Osmeña and Chief of Staff Basilio Valdez. They inaugurated the airport on a flight on board a Douglas DC-2 of the Philippine Army Air Corps (PAAC). They were welcomed by Governor Matias C. Ranillo, Sr. but the entourage promptly proceeded to Dipolog Cathedral for a thanksgiving mass since the plane almost crashed at landing. Fa. Nicasio Patangan was the officiating priest.[3]


C-47 Skytrain 1945

The original terminal was made of composite wood material at the northern side of the runway near the Philippine Constabulary Camp, now Camp Hamac in Sicayab. During World War II, the field was overrun by rank grass. It was still used by Col. Hipolito Garma's guerrilla 105th Division, as a re-supply base for Wendell Fertig's guerrillas and as an emergency landing field.[4]:593–594 In October 1944, Governor Ranillo led the Dipolognons to clear the runway at the request of the Filipino guerrilla forces. By 8 March, four divisions of 16 Vought F4U Corsair US Marine fighter bombers and the 13th US Air Force established base as part of the Victor IV liberation plan. They covered the landing of the 41st Infantry Division in Zamboanga on D-day scheduled on 10 March.[4]:594 It was completely restored in 1947 with the construction of a longer runway and bigger terminal that was relocated to the eastern side of runway 20. A new access road was also constructed, complementing its facility.

Commercial operation by Philippine Airlines commenced in 1952 using a Douglas DC-3 aircraft for routes to and from Cebu City and Zamboanga City. Concreting and expansion of the runway was made in 1974 when a new taxiway and apron was built. A new terminal building was constructed in 1980, relocating the old terminal to where it stands to this day. A bigger parking area and new access road was opened with the new terminal. A control tower was added in 1991, and new runway lights were installed in 2004.

The runway development as of this day

The airport's strategic location during World War II and the liberation of Zamboanga and Mindanao by American and Philippine Commonwealth Forces in 1945 prompted the national government to develop the field as an alternate to Zamboanga International Airport principally for national security reasons arising from natural and man-made emergencies. This was made apparent during the tumultuous period of the Muslim Rebellion in the early 1970s. Its infrastructure at that time was testament to its strategic importance.

Commercial trafficEdit

The late 1980s saw a dramatic upsurge in foreign tourist arrival. Aerolift Philippines launched flights to Manila using a Beechcraft 1900-C aircraft in 1987.

The airport's commercial viability for growth was established as more flights were mounted by Philippine Airlines prompting the national government to introduce further development. The city government of Dipolog incorporated its growth potential in their development strategy plan.[5]

In 1992, after extending its runway by 500 meters and constructing a control tower, Dipolog Airport officially welcomed its first mid-size passenger jet, a Philippine Airlines Boeing 737-300. The same year, daily flights to Dumaguete were introduced by PAL using Short 360 aircraft but were dropped one year later.

In 2002, at least 25% of the passenger traffic bound for Dipolog Airport was composed of foreign tourists.[6]

In July 2006, Cebu Pacific launched non-stop service to Manila using an Airbus A319 with a seating capacity of 150 passengers.

In December 2006, it registered a maximum traffic of 330 daily passengers on several occasions based on the aircraft's available capacity serving the route with Philippine Airlines using the much bigger Boeing 737-400 with a seating capacity of 180 passengers.

The airport was expected to handle more than 150,000 passengers per year by 2009 or an average of 415 daily passengers, which is equivalent to three narrow-body aircraft flights or two flights using one wide-body and one narrow-body aircraft. During the incumbency of former Mayor Evelyn Uy the City Government built a bridge and an access road to Barangay Barra cutting travel time to and from the City's Business District.

Airlines and destinationsEdit

A Philippine Airlines Airbus A320 at Dipolog Airport
Cebu Pacific Manila
Cebu Pacific
operated by Cebgo
Philippine Airlines
operated by PAL Express
Cebu[7], Manila
Royhle Air Way Charter: Dumaguete



Dipolog Airport Terminal Building

The airport has one terminal and a 150-meter by 100-meter apron. The apron is capable of supporting two Airbus A320s and three large general aviation planes simultaneously. There are plans to expand the apron to accommodate bigger aircraft.

The terminal building, which originally had a capacity of 170 passengers, now has a seating capacity of 300 passengers due to new flights offered by Cebu Pacific. The terminal houses a metal detector and an X-ray machine for fast security check-in of passengers and their baggage.

Dipolog Airport Fire Station
Dipolog Airport parking area was converted to a security buffer zone. The new parking area is outside the gate near the Miss Universe Garden.

Other structuresEdit

The airport has a modern control tower, a Category V fire station with four firetrucks and a new parking area complex near the Miss Universe Garden.

The new parking area would have a capacity of 100 vehicles when completed by the end of the year.[when?] The old parking area, which had a capacity of ninety vehicles, was partially converted into an security buffer zone, to address probable terrorist threats. Forty slots of the old parking area were made part of the new parking area. The city government is expanding again the parking area to accommodate the additional passenger traffic toward the vicinity of the Miss Universe Garden.

There is a mini-garden at the runway side of the terminal that contains a grotto.

Master planEdit

Third Airport Development ProjectEdit

The Dipolog Airport upgrading project was part of the 1997 Third Airport Development Project, a six-airport package that was supposed to be funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the Philippine government with its counterpart fund. However, the Philippine government failed to provide on the counterpart fund for the $93 million project. The ADB loan was cancelled effective May 31, 2003.[8]

Scope of workEdit

Designs for rehabilitation and upgrading were undertaken by COWI-NACO JV, with three local sub-consultants: TransAsia, Basic Team and COWI Philippines.[9] The scope of works included:

  1. Runway rehabilitation, extension and widening, and improvements of taxiways and aprons
  2. Grading of safety areas adjacent to the runway
  3. Construction of proper fencing between airside and landside areas
  4. Installation of x-ray equipment
  5. Upgrading of terminal and construction of new cargo building and other support facilities to increase service levels to handle forecast traffic for year 2010
  6. Installation of runway, approach lights and navigational aids in order to meet the international ICAO safety and security standards
  7. Expansion of utility facilities such as water supply and sewage treatment and
  8. Improvements of landside parking facilities.

As of April 2007, only items numbers one, two, five, six, and seven were not yet implemented due to huge budgetary requirements.

Southern Philippines Airport Development ProjectEdit

DOTC repackaged the project in 2005 into the Southern Philippines Airport Development Project for funding. By 2006, ADB reconsidered Dipolog Airport as one of only three of the six airport projects to be considered for funding based on the request of airline companies operating on the approved facilities,[10] commercial viability, and passenger traffic.[11]

ADB Proposed Project PackageEdit

  • Total project cost estimate: 731 million pesos[12][13]
  • Government counterpart: PHP 115 million
    • Repair and completion of shoreline protection structure (seawall) and land reclamation[14][15][16]
  • Currency rate conversion: 57 PHP per 1 USD
  • Date of completion: 2009


The airport as seen from above
  • Runway extension, widening and asphalt overlay of the entire length
    • 2,500 X 45 meters
  • expansion of the taxiway, apron and terminal building
  • construction of cargo building
  • installation of approach lights ILS and radar equipment


  1. ^ Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (23 July 2018). "Yearly Passenger, Cargo and Aircraft Movements of all airports in the Philippines 1997-2017". Republic of the Philippines - Freedom of Information Portal. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  2. ^ Aircraft, Passenger and Cargo Traffic-Dipolog Airport Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine Accessed May 14, 2007
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-05-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ a b Smith, R.R., 2005, Triumph in the Philippines, Honolulu: University Press of the Pacific, ISBN 1410224953
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-06-23. Retrieved 2007-05-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-06-10. Retrieved 2007-05-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Liu, Jim. "Philippine Airlines W19 domestic network additions". Routesonline. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-10-20. Retrieved 2007-05-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-04-16. Retrieved 2007-05-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Wayback Machine" (PDF). 8 February 2006. Archived from the original on 8 February 2006.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  12. ^ [2]
  13. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-10-22. Retrieved 2007-05-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-06-13. Retrieved 2007-05-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Welcome to the ATRS Homepage" (PDF). www.atrsworld.org.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-05-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit