SITE INSPECTION. Transportation Sec. Jaime Bautista leads the inspection of the New Manila International Airport in Bulakan, Bulacan on Saturday (Nov. 5, 2022). Operations at the new gateway are targeted to start in 2027. (Photo courtesy of DOTr)

MANILA – The construction of the New Manila International Airport in Bulacan, some 35 kilometers north of Metro Manila, is in full swing, with Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista leading the inspection over the weekend.

In a news release issued Monday, the DOTr said Bautista was joined by San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president and CEO Ramon Ang and other transport officials during the inspection in the town of Bulakan.

Bautista assured stakeholders of the new international airport that the gateway will soon be open for business. Operations at the new gateway are targeted to start in 2027.

Land development works are now being done at the airport’s 1,693-hectare site.

Works on the PHP735-billion airport officially started on Sept. 18, 2019, when the government, through the DOTr, signed a concession agreement with San Miguel Aerocity Inc. (SMAI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of San Miguel Holdings Corp., and the infrastructure arm of SMC.

The DOTr and the SMAI are working together to make sure that the project complies with environmental protection requirements, particularly flood mitigation, considering the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) which was conducted prior to the commencement of works at the airport site.

Once built, the new international airport will be fully owned by the government under a “build-operate-transfer” program.

Once operational, the new gateway will not only help decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as the capital’s main gateway, but will also be a “game changer” and catalyst of economic growth in Central Luzon. Phase 1 of the airport will have a capacity of 35 million passengers per annum, is expected generate more than 1 million jobs, and rake-in increased foreign direct investments and higher exports.

Under the 50-year concession agreement, SMAI will undertake the financing, design, construction, supply, completion, testing, commissioning, and operation and maintenance of the new international gateway.

With a design capacity of up to 100 million passengers annually and plans for four parallel runways, the New Manila International Airport is expected to help decongest the NAIA and enable the airports in the Greater Capital Region (Metro Manila and nearby provinces) to meet forecast passenger demand. (PNA)