New airport: DOTC eyes Sangley Point, Laguna de Bay

By Lawrence Agcaoili, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 03 2014 07:47 AM | Updated as of Mar 03 2014 10:38 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is looking at Sangley Point in Cavite and Laguna de Bay as the possible site of a new international gateway that would replace the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City.

Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said in an interview that the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is initially looking at the former US naval base in Cavite as well as the country’s largest lake as the possible site of the new airport.

“Our initial feedback is that they (JICA) are looking at Sangley because it is within the 20-minute parameter and is accessible. One could also be I think Laguna de Bay,” Abaya said.

He pointed out that both locations entail massive reclamation as the new international airport requires at least 2,000 hectares.

“Maybe initially you can get 1,000 hectares but for 2,000 hectares that is 20 minutes away from Manila is impossible. It is very difficult to look for a place that big,” he explained.

Abaya said the project could be under the public-private partnership scheme as the government is veering away from unsolicited proposals.

“Interested investors could join the bidding. Definitely unsolicited proposal won’t happen,” he added.

JICA is conducting a site selection study for the new international airport that is a long-term development to be commenced and completed in 15 to 20 years.

The DOTC wants to put into operation a new international airport by 2027 with the joint development of the congested NAIA in Manila and the Clark International Airport (CIA) in Pampanga.

A JICA study showed that the number of passengers in Greater Capital Region would hit 106.7 million by 2040, from 31.88 million in 2012.

It expects passengers from the National Capital Region as well as Central Luzon and CALABARZON to rise steadily to 49.8 million in 2020, 75 million in 2030, and 106.7 million in 2040.

To meet these expected volumes, the government has identified two viable options that involve the expansion of CIA as well as the development of a new international airport roughly within 20 to 30 minutes of Metro Manila.

One option entails the closure and sale of NAIA by 2030, with the new international airport to be operational by 2027, which would provide 78 percent of the required passenger terminal building while the CIA would handle 22 percent.

The other option allows NAIA to co-exist alongside CIA and the new airport up to 2040 and beyond.

Once the gateway airport roadmap to 2040 is identified, the DOTC would finalize its plans to execute the policy.

But even parallel to this, the DOTC has begun preparatory measures to boost expansion efforts at the CIA and to identify the site for the new international airport.

A 6,000-square meter expansion of the passenger terminal building in Clark was recently completed.

France’s Aeroport de Paris has started preparing a master plan for a 45,000-square meter low-cost carrier terminal valued at P7 billion.

The P1.9-billion rehabilitation of NAIA Terminal 3 being undertaken by Takenaka Corp. of Japan is expected to be completed ahead of the August schedule, while the P1.3-billion rehabilitation of NAIA Terminal 1 being conducted by DM Consunji Inc. is scheduled to be completed in January next year in time for the country’s hosting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting.

Wall St. Cheat Sheet, a United States financial media company, has ranked NAIA eighth among the 10 Worst Airports in the World, citing overcapacity issues in Terminals 1 and 3.