Fresh Airport Pitch To Next Administration

MANILA — San Miguel plans to offer a more modest airport project to the next Philippine administration after an ambitious proposal for a $10-billion aviation hub for the capital failed to impress the current government.

Ramon Ang, the diversified conglomerate’s president and chief operating officer, said his new proposal will cover construction of a 2-billion-peso ($43 million) “budget terminal” and a 5-billion-peso runway near the existing Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in southern Metro Manila.

Access and additional land near the Manila airport complex will cost around 50 billion pesos, Ang said.

The existing airport has two runways with capacity for 50 take-offs and landings an hour, and three main terminals that handle 30 million passenger movements annually. According to Ang, the revised terminal and runway proposal will double NAIA’s capacity.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Ang described the revised project as “an unsolicited proposal” for the next administration, but did not go into the business model.

 Ang said Manila would eventually need a larger, more modern airport. The present facility was rated the region’s worst in one online survey. It handled 34 million passengers last year, well beyond its capacity, and the existing runways are unable to handle more aircraft movements, resulting in flight delays.

Last year, San Miguel pitched the unsolicited $10-billion airport project to President Benigno Aquino’s government, which generally prefers solicited proposals. It showed little interest.

 Aquino will end a constitutionally mandated single term of six years in 2016, and his successor may review the situation.

The original 800-hectare airport project had three terminals — one main hub for full-service carriers and two terminals to serve the growing number of budget airlines. It required reclamation of a portion of Manila Bay for four runways and 164 gates to provide capacity for 100 million passenger movements annually, according to San Miguel documents.

San Miguel is currently undertaking an 8-billion-peso expansion in the central Philippines of Caticlan Airport, the gateway to Boracay Island which receives over a million tourists annually.

Source: CLIFF VENZON, Nikkei staff writer

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