Gateway airport decision up to future governments — NEDA

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Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)

A FUTURE government will end up making the decision to designate a main international gateway airport for Metro Manila, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said, due to the long timelines for the airports under development around the nation’s capital.

Designating a main gateway “is not within our control. Because (the development of airports) is 10 years, at least, down the line. So it may not be the next administration, but the next after the next. We can only make definite plans for the time when the administration is still in position,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia told reporters on May 4.

After the NEDA Board approved San Miguel Corp.’s proposal to build a P735-billion airport in Bulacan, Mr. Pernia said economic planners are also looking at proposals to rehabilitate and decongest Metro Manila’s current international gateway, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Sangley Airport Infrastructure Group, Inc., led by All-Asia Resources and Reclamation, Corp. and Belle Corp., in March proposed to the government a $12-billion airport that can accommodate about 120 million passengers annually at Sangley Point in Cavite, currently a naval base with a small airport, with a concession period of 50 years.

“But there is no full feasibility study yet, or full submission of requirements,” Mr. Pernia said when asked for updates on the unsolicited proposal.

“It can only be a maximum of three, because NAIA will be one of those. They cannot operate at the same time, NAIA and Sangley,” Mr. Pernia said.

Mr. Pernia added that the NAIA redevelopment would be a “fallback” if the Bulacan or Sangley airport are delayed.

However, he said that proponents should still evaluate scenarios for “the coexistence of two big airports.”

Conglomerates Aboitiz Infra Capital, Inc., AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., Alliance Global Group, Inc., AEDC, Filinvest Development Corp., JG Summit Holdings, Inc. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp., submitted to the government in February a P350-billion proposal to redevelop NAIA, with a concession of 35 years.

Megawide Construction Corp. and India-based GMR Infrastructure Ltd. also submitted an offer to rehabilitate NAIA for $3 billion.

Apart from the new unsolicited airport proposals, the government is currently constructing a new terminal of the Clark International Airport to help decongest NAIA. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan