By Arjay L. Balinbin, Senior Reporter

THE CAVITE provincial government expects construction of the $11-billion Sangley Point International Airport Project, which will serve as an alternative to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), to start as early as the third quarter of 2023.

Construction work on the airport project will begin in “third-fourth (Q3-Q4) quarter 2023,” Cavite Governor Juanito Victor “Jonvic” C. Remulla told BusinessWorld in a phone message last week.

The provincial government awarded the project on Sept. 14 to a consortium composed of Philippine, European, and South Korean companies.

The signing of the joint venture and development agreement is expected to take place this month. The parties will work on finalizing the airport’s design and business plan, the provincial government said.

The Philippine companies leading the consortium are Cavitex Holdings, Inc. (CHI); the Yuchengcos’ publicly listed House of Investments, Inc.; and Lucio C. Tan-led MacroAsia Corp., a provider of aviation-related support services.

Samsung C&T Corp., the construction unit of South Korean tech giant Samsung, will also be involved in the project, together with Munich Airport International GmbH, and Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong Ltd.

“This new airport is the future of the country. This airport is the hope of the country. The province is just a small player. But if we work together, we can do this for our people,” Mr. Remulla had said in a statement.

CHI Chief Executive Officer Leonides Juan Mariano C. Virata said the group aims to meet the requirements of airlines to make the airport an international hub that will “satisfy the needs of the future.”

The first phase of the project, which includes the first of four runways, is expected to be operational by 2028. The second phase will result in a two-runway system with airport facilities capable of handling at least 75 million passengers every year.

As demand for air travel is expected to increase in the next 30 to 40 years, the province of Cavite has been pushing for the development of the Sangley Point International Airport Project as an alternative to the overcrowded NAIA in Pasay City.