GIVEN the congested state of Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has identified two possible locations for another international airport in the country.
In a recent breakfast forum in Manila, Secretary Emilio Joseph Abaya said the DOTC is inclined to endorse to the government’s chief economic planners two possible locations for the new airport—the naval station Sangley Point in Cavite and the reclamation area in Manila Bay.
Both prospective locations, Abaya said, were pinpointed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in an ongoing study for the establishment of another Philippine international airport.
Abaya said the DOTC would present the proposals to the National Economic Development Authority in the latter’s board meeting next month.
Initially, the JICA proposed Sangley Point for the new airport for an estimated cost of $10 billion. This time, Abaya disclosed, the foreign agency had also cited central Manila Bay as another prospect for a price of about $13 billion.
Last year, highly diversified local conglomerate San Miguel Corporation signified interest in putting up a new international airport also in Manila Bay for $10 billion. This, however, has not prospered, as the company never got to submit a formal proposal to the government.
Abaya said the country needs a new international airport to meet rising demand, which has seriously congested NAIA despite ongoing facilities upgrades.
While four terminals are already in place, NAIA has only one primary runway, and a secondary runway mostly for smaller planes, to accommodate about 550 planes landing and taking off per day.
This has created serious congestion and countless flight delays, especially during peak travel seasons.
Abaya said earlier that JICA recognizes the merits of Sangley Point, as it is only 20 minutes by land to and from Metro Manila.
He added that it was very difficult to look for a 2,000-hectare piece of land in Metro Manila that can host a new international airport.
The administration of President Benigno Aquino 3rd has also pursued—with limited success—a policy of shifting traffic away from Manila toward other growth centers like Clark in Pampanga.