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Philippines' Bulacan airport cleared to begin construction

Manila has given its approval to begin the construction of Bulacan International airport, in hopes of reducing congestion at the Philippine capital's Ninoy Aquino International airport, and to complement Clark International airport.

The country's Department of Transportation (DOTr) says in an 18 September statement that it signed a concession agreement with developer San Miguel Corporation (SMC), permitting its wholly-owned unit San Miguel Aerocity to build, operate, maintain, finance and design the new airport.

In addition, a new 8km toll road will be built, connecting the new airport to an existing expressway.

The concession will last for 50 years after the completion of the project's first phase. The facility is targeted to begin operations within four to six years.

Prior to signing the concession agreement, the DOTr issued a notice of award to SMC in mid-August, after the company's unsolicited proposal underwent the Swiss Challenge process uncontested.

Located 50km northwest of Manila, the Bulacan airport project will feature a passenger terminal building capable of handling around 100 million passengers annually, four parallel runways, eight taxiways, and its associated infrastructure, adds the DOTr.

A profile of the new airport on SMC's website indicates that the company plans to invest Ps734 billion ($14.2 billion) in the project, which it says will be built at no cost to the Philippine government.

Transportation secretary Arthur Tugade says that having the Bulacan airport compete alongside Ninoy Aquino and Clark airports will boost commercial competitiveness, allowing travellers to choose their preferred airport to fly out from.

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