THE Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) prefers putting up the county’s new international airport at Sangley Point in the province of Cavite.
Sasaki Takahiro, JICA Chief Representative to the Philippines said a group of technical personnel from the agency has conducted studies on the possible locations for the country’s new international airport.
Based on its assessment, Takahiro said the group has selected Sangley Point as the most strategic location for the new international airport.
“Among the technical observations, our study team gave Sangley Point the highest score. It is one of the potential sites because Sangley Point is at the forefront of Manila Bay,” he told The Manila Times in an exclusive interview.
Citing the findings of the study, Takahiro said Sangley Point falls within the 20-minute parameter and is very accessible.
The government has tapped JICA to conduct the site selection study for the new international gateway, which is part of its long-term development plan.
Based on JICA’s Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for Metro Manila and its surrounding areas, Takahiro said they proposed a concept for gateway airport development.
He said the country should have a “globally competitive international gateway airport,” adding that “it is a critical driving force for future development of the country.”
The roadmap also proposed the closure of the existing Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) located in Pasay city to pave the way for the development of the new NAIA.
In case NAIA will be closed down, JICA suggested that it should be converted into a Central Business District (CBD).
Meanwhile, JICA recommends using the Clark International Airport in Pampanga as the secondary gateway airport for central and northern areas and an alternative to the new NAIA.
The NAIA Terminal 1 was named as the worst airport in the world for 2013 and 2011 and the worst in Asia in 2012 by Travel website Sleeping In Airports.
Some of the factors for the “worst airport” label are crowded terminals, long delays, difficult transfers, lack of 24-hour food, dirty floors, bathrooms and food courts, unfriendly staff, and existing airport scams, among others.
Takahiro said the government should now put in place its infrastructure development projects, adding that the Philippines is “very far behind compared with its neighboring countries.”
“The airport is the window for foreign people, you should think about it,” he added.
The Department of Transportation and Communications has been pushing for the completion of a new international airport by 2027 that will be jointly developed alongside NAIA in Pasay and Clark International Airport in Pampanga.