• Sangley Point eyed as airport for commercial, small aircraft

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    To address the air traffic congestion in the country’s prime gateway, a leader of the House of Representatives has filed a resolution urging the immediate development of the Sangley Point in Cavite, the former American military base into an airport for general aviation and small commercial aircraft.

    In House Resolution 2076, Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez, chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, said that the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has been perennially beset with worsening delayed flights due to air traffic congestion.

    Benitez, a member of the House Committee on Transportation, citing the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), said that the NAIA runway is accommodating more than 40 landings and take offs per hour especially during the peak hours of 7 a.m. to 4.p.m., instead of its 36 flights capacity.

    He said that one of the possible solutions to decongest NAIA is by transferring the operations of general aviation and hangars as well as small commercial planes with 30 passengers or less to another runway and instead service only the larger aircraft.

    “The MIAA said that general aviation and hangars occupy at least 44 hectares of NAIA complex and private planes account for about 17 percent of total landings and takeoffs at the airport runway,” he said.

    According to Benitez, DOTC has already confirmed the necessity of a third runway in Metro Manila and floated the idea of utilizing Sangley point in Cavite for general aviation given its proximity and can have an integrated airspace with NAIA.

    Also, the lawmaker said that a study of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) showed that NAIA’s congestion suggests that there is practically no more room for growth.

    “The airport is forecasted to hit its maximum capacity by 2018 or 2020 according to JICA. Same study also revealed that NAIA’s annual passenger forecast by 2020 is at 49.8 million and will increase to 75 million by 2030,” he said.

    Benitez’s resolution also said that the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) reported a Php 7-billion annual loss of airline companies due to air traffic congestion.

    “CAAP identified additional cost from fuel consumptions, engine maintenance as well as flight delays as those accounted to the said foregone revenues due to congestion,” he added in his resolution, which currently under a committee deliberation.

    Benitez said that “it is incumbent upon the government to urgently address the air traffic congestion problem as it has proved to be detrimental to the country’s economy with the losses incurred in aviation industry’s profits. In addition, improving the airport services will definitely result to a boost in our local tourism as airports serve as the gateway to our country.”

    PNA

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