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"Philippines shelves private bids for new airports"


 
Monday, June 19, 2017

Private airport offers take backseat
Transport exec says gov't to proceed with own plans to decongest Naia
By Miguel R. Camus
The Philippine Daily Inquirer


The Department of Transportation's (DOTr) Greater Manila airport strategy is 
taking shape and the plans so far exclude massive private sector offers meant 
to replace the busy Ninoy Aquino International Airport, a government official 
said.

Manuel Antonio Tamayo, DOTr undersecretary for aviation, told reporters that 
the government would proceed with its own plans to decongest Naia, including 
developing a portion of the nearby Sangley Point, Cavite air base and Clark 
International Airport in Pampanga as alternative gateways.

His statements provided the clearest glimpse yet into the government's 
priorities in formulating an airport strategy for the Greater Manila area.

Tamayo also disclosed the status of ambitious new airport offers by San Miguel 
Corp. as well as the Solar Group and Belle Corp. consortium: Tucked away in the 
"backseat."

"It's still there. It's still being considered. But it's not immediate. It's 
more of a medium-term [decision]," Tamayo said.

Naia, the Philippines busiest gateway, has limited expansion options, being 
surrounded by crucial roads as well as dense residential and commercial areas. 
It already served about 39.5 million passengers last year against its design 
capacity of 31 million passengers.

Naia is also unable to keep up with rising demand given flight limitations 
caused by its two intersecting runways, in contrast with many global hubs, 
which have at least two parallel runways, allowing for more takeoff and landing 
events.

"We need to decongest Manila. That's the main problem," Tamayo said.

For Sangley, Tamayo said the DOTr and the Civil Aviation Authority of the 
Philippines would spend about P700 million to rehabilitate the Sangley air 
base. The objective is to transfer general aviation activities and some 
domestic flights from Naia to Sangley.

It is the same government-backed plan for the Clark Airport, albeit on a much 
larger scale.

Tamayo said Clark Airport, whose development is being led by the Bases 
Conversion and Development Authority, would adopt the master plan provided by 
France's Aeroport De Paris.

This called for the initial doubling of Clark's capacity to 8 million 
passengers a year by 2019. Clark Airport handles only about a quarter of its 
present four-million passenger capacity.

The DOTr, earlier this year, appeared keen on private sector proposals to build 
a Naia replacement at no expense to the government and without any state 
guarantees.

SMC offered to build a P700-billion "aerotropolis" spanning roughly 2,500 
hectares in Bulacan, north of Metro Manila. Separately, the Solar and Belle 
proposed a P1.3-trillion reclamation project in offshore Sangley Point, Cavite. 
About 2,500 hectares would then be redeveloped into a new airport, seaport and 
industrial estate.
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