MANILA - Billionaire Enrique Razon Jr. said a new airport that will replace the current one is good for the country’s tourism and gaming industry.
“There’s no synergy with our port operation but it’s synergistic with our tourism business with Solaire. It’s synergistic with everything,” Razon said.
Razon, who owns most of the country’s major seaports and the $1.2-billion Solaire Resort and Casino in the Manila Entertainment City, said San Miguel Corp. President Ramon S. Ang has yet to ask him to join in the $9.5-billion project, which will replace the current one that has limited capacity and has been the major cause of flight delays.
“I wish San Miguel all the power in the world and all the luck that they can get to get it done. We need the airport,” Razon said.
San Miguel, which also owns about half of flag carrier Philippine Airlines, has presented to Malacañang a proposal to build the airport in an 800-hectare property in Manila Bay with four runways capable of handling 150 million passengers annually.
Ang has called on the country’s wealthy families—the Gokongweis, Ayalas and Sys—to join the project.
The said airport is expected to be operational on the fifth year with two parallel runways. By the seventh year, it will have four runways.
At the moment, Manila’s 400-hectare airport only has one runway, both for landing and takeoff. It can only accommodate 40 for both takeoff and landing per hour, a far cry from Hong Kong’s 120. The Chinese territory has two parallel runways.
“For now, we have not yet decided who we will choose as partner for the project but many are now taking interest,” Ang said earlier, adding that he is open for the project for bidding but not a Swiss challenge.
Earlier reports said the new airport will have an area of 800 hectares. The facility will initially be available exclusively for the use of Philippine Airlines, which San Miguel owns 49 percent, but later on will be opened to other carriers. The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) last year exceeded its maximum annual capacity of 30 million passengers.
Last year the Department of Transportation and Communications proposed to the President the option of building a new international airport that would be 25 to 30 minutes away from the Naia, which will reach its full capacity by 2018.