DOTr pushing for dev't of new airports to complement NAIA, Clark

CLARK, Pampanga --- The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is pushing for the development of other gateways to complement the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and the Clark International Airport (CRK).

At least two airport development projects are now being prioritized --- building a new airport in Bulacan and developing the Sangley airport in Cavite. This airport complementation strategy is aimed at decongesting NAIA, give travelers more options, and spread development across Luzon.

“The idea of having multiple airports is something that the world’s biggest economies do. Ideally, there should be a train service linking these airports, which is also being pursued by the government. This complementation strategy was already part of the air transport roadmap from day one, and rest assured, that’s what we are going to do,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said. 

The new Bulacan airport, an unsolicited proposal from the San Miguel Holdings Corp. (SMHC), was approved by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Board last April 25, subject to resolution of pending issues, including a submission of “Joint and Several Liability” agreement by SMHC and its parent company.

After submitting the revised Concession Agreement, along with the Risk Allocation Matrix, the NEDA and the Department of Finance (DOF) submitted their comments last August 9, and are now under consideration of SMHC. After which, the DOTr will commence negotiations with SMHC to finalize the draft Concession Agreement and submit the same to NEDA Investment Coordination Committee, and begin the Swiss Challenge process.

The proposal includes the building of four parallel runways and a passenger terminal with 100 million passengers capacity per year.

Meanwhile, the DOTr also welcomes the proposal of the provincial government of Cavite to develop the Sangley Airport. The approval process, however, will be defined after the Cavite LGU has determined the legal framework for its implementation.

While these projects are being developed, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) Board has already approved the grant of original proponent status to the NAIA Consortium for the airport’s rehabilitation project. The concession period will run for 15 years.

Apart from these airports in Luzon, Tugade said several other airports are undergoing various stages of implementation. Among them is the new Bohol (Panglao) airport, which will be opened within the year. The Bicol International Airport in Albay is now also being constructed after 11 years of delay. The Siargao and Bukidnon airports are also in the works.

“Apart from these new gateways, we are improving our existing provincial airports. We are extending and expanding runways, building new passenger terminal buildings, and generally improving the facilities,” Tugade said. (DOTr PR)