THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) said it go ahead with its plan to transfer general aviation flights Sangley airport by the third quarter of 2019, amid a lack of progress in the Cavite government’s plan to develop the airfield there, which is currently an Air Force base.
Transportation Undersecretary for Aviation Manuel Antonio L. Tamayo told reporters on Friday last week that the government is almost done with its plan to develop Danilo Atienza Air Base for commercial operations targeted at general aviation.
When asked for an update on the Cavite provincial government’s Sangley airport proposal, he said, “We are losing patience, as is NEDA (the National Economic Development Authority), why is it taking so long. But the DoTr is working on its own plans for Sangley. Regardless of whether Cavite proceeds or not, Sangley will be used by general aviation.
“We expect to… get it operational by third quarter of next year,” he added.
Mr. Tamayo noted once the Sangley airport opens for use by the general aviation sector, business jets operating in Manila may relocate out of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) into Sangley.
He said the airfield at Sangley will be upgraded to a 2,300-meter runway, with only 400 meters left to build. Other structures like a new tower, which is needed for the airport to be rated for night operations, will take time.
The move “will definitely reduce the traffic in (NAIA) just in case none of the airport proposals goes ahead,” he said.
The DoTr is evaluating two proposals for the Sangley airport — the P552.018-billion proposal of the Cavite government to operate, manage and expand the gateway; and the $12-billion unsolicited proposal of the private sector to build an airport hub at Sangley.
Mr. Tamayo said although the department can reject the pitch of the Cavite government, it “cannot be rejected right away.”
“No matter what you say, it’s a local government,” he said, noting the alternative option is the one from Sangley Airport Infrastructure Group, Inc. (SAIG).
SAIG is a consortium formed by Solar Group’s Wilson Y. Tieng and SM Group’s Henry T. Sy, Sr., which proposes to build a regional airport hub on the 2,500-hectare site in Sangley Point, including reclamation, for a 50-year concession period. The proposal was set aside by the DoTr to prioritize the government-to-government deal.
Mr. Tamayo said there has been no update from the Cavite government on its airport proposal, which the DoTr said lacks some documentary requirements. — Denise A. Valdez