MANILA – A study commissioned by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has recommended building an alternative to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) at a former U.S. airbase in Cavite province.
According to DOTC, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) last Friday presented its recommendation for a new international airport at the Sangley Point.
“It will now begin working on a feasibility study, with the aim of inaugurating a new main airport by 2025,” DOTC said.
The department said JICA’s study has yet to be presented to President Benigno Aquino III. The government wants to build a new international gateway that is 25-30 minutes away from NAIA, which will reach its full capacity as early as 2018.
DOTC, whose head Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya is a politician from Cavite, had been looking at either Sangley Point or Clark, another former US airbase that has since been transformed into an economic zone. Most airlines fly out of NAIA, with less than 10 operating from Clark in Pampanga province.
Available data from DOTC show that NAIA aircraft movements – defined as takeoffs and landings – went up to 255,000 in 2011 from 171,000 in 2006.â¨ At the same time, the fleet of commercial airlines using NAIA doubled to 119 from only 62 in 2008. These aircraft serviced 30 million passengers last year, up from 18 million in 2006.
Earlier, San Miguel Corp (SMC) proposed to build a new international airport at a reclaimed area along the Manila-Cavite Coastal Road at a cost of $10 billion.
San Miguel’s proposed airport, which would be pursued as a build-operate-transfer (BOT) project, would be located on 1,600 hectares of newly-reclaimed land and would be separated from adjacent areas by a drainage channel.
The airport layout is based on an international and domestic passenger handling capacity of 75 million passengers per year, with scalability to cater to more than 100 million a year. A separate passenger terminal facilities are planned for full-service and low-cost airlines. The terminals will have up to 164 contact gates serviced by protected passenger boarding bridges and walkways.
Once built, the new airport can accommodate all international and domestic operations at the NAIA. International and domestic operations will be co-located allowing for more convenient international-domestic connect times.
The new airport would be only 11 minutes away from the Makati central business district via a new airport expressway rail service.â¨ The proposed airport expressway would be 15-kilometers long, providing quick access to Fort Bonifacio, Ortigas and Eastwood as well as an alternative route to Makati.
SMC has a 49 percent stake in Philippine Airlines Inc (PAL), which the food-and-beverage conglomerate acquired from tycoon Lucio Tan, who still holds the remaining 51 percent of the flag carrier.
Source: Darwin G. Amojelar, InterAksyon.com