CAAP pushes parallel NAIA runway

By Lawrence Agcaoili, The Philippine Star

Posted at May 29 2014 07:40 AM | Updated as of May 29 2014 03:40 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) yesterday pushed for the construction of a parallel runway at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to ease congestion at the airport, which costs airlines at least P7 billion a year.

Capt. John Andrews, CAAP deputy director general, said carriers are wasting P3.5 billion worth of fuel, which is equivalent to about 40 landings and takeoffs per hour, and another P3.5 billion on engine maintenance and aircraft time.

“My observations from these delays is a wastage of fuel with a minimum of 200,000 to 400,000 kilograms per day with a cost of P10 million to P20 million a day. All the aircraft coming in to Manila are wasting fuel because of excessive delays,” he said.

He said the construction of a parallel runway at NAIA could increase the airport’s capacity from 40 to about 60 aircraft movements per hour.

“If you save P10 million in one day, you save P3.7 billion (a year) and that is only the cost of fuel. With engine time and cost of aircraft time, this will probably double to about P7 billion a year,” he said.

Andrews said Malacañang should immediately decide on the proposed P2-billion parallel runway as the P13.25-billion Communications, Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management Systems Development Project Package being undertaken by Sumitomo Corp. of Japan and Thales Australia Ltd. would be completed in November next year.

He said a decision has to be made soon so that the proposed new radar system would be constructed in a new location in consideration of the new parallel runway.

“If we are going to put up the parallel runway this will have to be relocated and that will cost us millions,” he said.

Andrews said the P2-billion cost of the parallel runway is smaller compared to the losses incurred by airlines due to congestion in NAIA, adding that the return on investment is only four months.

The proposed 2.1-kilometer parallel runway would be constructed south of the existing primary runway 06/24 within the 400-hectare NAIA complex.

The NAIA was built in 1981 with two intersecting runways - primary runway 06/24 and secondary runway 13/31. To limit aircraft movements at 40 per hour, aviation authorities decided to move general aviation flights to the Sangley airport in Cavite.

The government has earmarked P1.3 billion for the rehabilitation of NAIA Terminal 1 and another P1.9 billion for the retrofitting of NAIA 3, set for completion next year in time for the hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

Once completed in July, at least five foreign airlines – Emirates, Delta Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and KLM – are set to transfer to NAIA 3 to bring down the number of passengers using NAIA 1 to its original design capacity of 4.5 million from the current level of eight million.

A new building will also be built within the parking lot in front of NAIA 1 where all stores, restaurants, banks, money exchanges, massage parlors would be relocated.

NAIA 1 would only be for passengers while well-wishers as well as commercial establishments would be relocated to the proposed building.

Andrews is pushing for the construction of the new parallel runway as the proposed $10 billion international airport of diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) would take time to take off.

SMC, which also owns the national flag carrier Philippine Airlines, intends to put up an international airport in a 1,600-hectare property owned by the CyberBay Corp. property along the Manila-Cavite Expressway coastal road.