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ROUTES: New government to decide on second Manila airport

The Philippine transport ministry says the location of a second airport in Manila will “soon” be made known, and the target is for the airport to be operational in the next 10 to 15 years.

Making a keynote address at the Routes Asia Strategy Summit in Manila, Joseph Abaya, secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communication says a feasibility study on the project is currently underway, with two locations being considered. One has been identified as Sangley Point, Cavite.

Abaya says the new airport will be located within 20km from the city’s business centre. It will initially have two runways, but eventually expand into a four-runway operation.

While acknowledging congestion at the country’s main gateway – the Ninoy Aquino International airport (NAIA), Abaya pointed out that work is ongoing to optimise runway capacity with the aim of increasing aircraft movements and driving passenger throughput. The airport’s terminal one and two have also been rehabilitated.

Abaya tells Flightglobal a decision has not been made on whether the new airport will replace NAIA, or to operate operate alongside it. Construction of the new airport, to be built on reclaimed land, will be funded by the government, but a private firm could thereafter take over its operations and maintenance.

He adds however that the final decision on the airport will come under the next government administration: “We’ve talked about it a lot and I think the next administration will make a decision, commence project, get through the process and hopefully procure it immediately.” The current administration’s term ends in April.

Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Corporation’s earlier proposal to build an airport on reclaimed land along Manila Bay is not being considered, because “it is too near to shore and too close to NAIA”, says Abaya.

Congestion has long been an issue at NAIA, which now handles 32 million passengers a year, above its design capacity of 31 million.

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