P2B set for alternative NAIA runway

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The government said it will allot about P2 billion for the construction of an alternative runway south of the current main runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1.

“In fact, doon naubos ang oras namin [this took up most of our time]– discussing that alternative runway,” Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya told reporters on the sidelines of the 23rd World Economic Forum on Thursday.

The DOTC said that businessman Ramon Ang also submitted the said proposal to the government when he pitched a proposal for the construction of a new $10-billion airport.

“The first phase is P2 billion but we will verify [that],” Abaya added.

He said the alternative runway would allow Airbus A320s to land.

Abaya noted that the cited alternative runway would be built south of the current main runway.

“Ang hindi gaano nabanggit doon [What was not prominently mentioned at the forum] and probably our biggest challenge is the 600 households that will be affected.

We’re still verifying if [the residents are]informal settlers or private owners. So I think at the end of the [day]that’s going to be the biggest challenge as to [the construction’s]quick execution,” Abaya noted.

“Noong una akala no ex-pro… so madali [At first we thought we would not need to expropriate]. But, apparently, there [is a need to expropriate]. The plan is the government will finance the relocation, so we need help from DPWH [Department of Public Works and Highways] and NHA [National Housing Authority] since we are not an expert [on]relocation,” he added.

The DOTC, however, is wary of losing the precision landing accreditation of the current NAIA Terminal 1 runway by constructing the adjacent alternative runway.

“We’re also checking with ICAO [International Civil Aviation Organization]. They are saying that when you have a precision landing-certified runway, ‘pag tinabihan mo ‘yan ng isa nawawala ‘yung certification [the certification is lost when you construct an adjacent runway]… we don’t want this to happen,” Abaya said.

ICAO is an international body that codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth.

“We’re gathering data from them. We want to see how they did the layout. We’ll let CAAP [Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines] do this. We just want to make sure that the precision landing accreditation is not compromised,” Abaya said.

Earlier, the DOTC assured the traveling public that NAIA Terminal 1, previously tagged by a travel web site as the “world’s worst airport”, would no longer be overcrowded by August when five big airlines transfer their operations to NAIA Terminal 3.

DOTC Undersecretary for Legal Affairs and Procurement Jose Perpetuo Lotilla said, “We will be reducing the number of users of [NAIA] Terminal 1. From the present 8 million, it will be reduced by 3.5 million [passengers].”

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