With San Miguel Corp. dropping out of its short-lived partnership with Philippine Airlines, it looks like the Tiengs of Solar TV have taken the lead role in pushing for an alternative airport within Manila Bay.
And judging from their recent European investor briefing, Solar TV chairman Wilson Tieng and his brother/vice chairman William Tieng are confident that their unsolicited proposal to build a combined airport-seaport terminal off Sangley Point in Cavite is just one regulatory hurdle from being accepted by the PNoy government.
“The project has just one last level of approval to hurdle — clearance from the National Economic and Development Authority, chaired by President Benigno Aquino III,” the European logistics industry paper, Loadstar, reported last week.
“From the day that we sign with the government, it will take two-to-three years to reclaim the land and another two-to-three years to build the facilities,” said Rommel Gavieta, chief operating officer of the All-Asia Reclamation and Resources Corp., the Tieng-led consortium that includes the Munich airport operator FMG and Hamburg port operator HHLA.
Gavieta was in Rotterdam as one of the conference speakers in the 2014 Intermodal Europe exhibition for container, transport and logistics industry.
To carry out their ambitious proposal, the Tiengs are proposing to reclaim three islands parallel to the western side of the Sangley airport, the biggest of which, some 2,000 hectares to rise from the sea, will accommodate a two-runway airport and a passenger terminal.
The two satellite islands are also being proposed as a bulk liquid depot to replace the Pandacan oil terminal and as an alternative container facility to help decongest the Manila harbor.
The Tieng proposal calls for an 17-kilometer elevated road and viaduct that will directly link the new airport with the present Ninoy Aquino International Airport, along with a ferry service with a terminal near the Mall of Asia.
In addition, another 32-kilometer light rail network parallel to the Manila-Cavite Expressway will link the proposed airport from the planned Zapote light rail station.
The Tiengs and their foreign consultants estimate the entire project could cost a staggering $30 billion, but it is not clear who would provide the financing for such an ambitious undertaking.
According to the project website, the consortium has already secured the services of Deutsche Bank as financial advisor for both its planned “Aquino Sangley International Airport” and “Aguinaldo Sangley International Port.” And for the light rail component, the Tieng consortium has also tapped the Italian rail company Circumvesuviana, the rail operator for the southern Italy’s Campania region.
The Tieng reclamation site is different from a similar unsolicited proposal of developer-contractor DM Wenceslao, who is proposing to build the airport-shipping port complex at the other side of the Sangley peninsula, facing the Cavite coastal road. In addition, DM Wenceslao is proposing to use the existing Sangley runway, to be lengthened and modified to international standards, for the new airport.
The San Miguel-Ramon S. Ang airport proposal, on the other hand, is closer to the reclaimed area of what is now Pagcor City, with the San Miguel’s 4,000-hectare footprint most likely would overlap that of DM Wenceslao’s.
Under the Tieng proposal, the general aviation traffic in the Sangley airport would be consolidated back to Manila, with a new terminal beside the Air Force/Presidential hangar.
The four current terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, on the other hand, would be converted into a casino-mall (Terminal 3) and office complexes.
The larger remainder of the 400-hectare NAIA complex would in turn be converted into a new business-commercial-residential district that would eclipse the Makati and Ortigas business districts combined.