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DOTC eyes new int’l airport in 2027

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is looking at putting into operation a new international airport by 2027 with the joint development of the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila and the Clark International Airport in Pampanga as the number of passengers is expected to more than triple by 2040.

Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said a study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) showed that the number of passengers in Greater Capital Region would hit 106.7 million by 2040 from 31.88 million in 2012.

Abaya said the JICA study predicts that passengers from the National Capital Region as well as Central Luzon and CALABARZON would rise steadily to 49.8 million in 2020, 75 million in 2030, and 106.7 million in 2040.

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

“We will present two options for modernizing our gateway airport system, which will show the world that we are preparing to be one of the top global tourist destinations for the next few decades,” he added.

The two options to be presented to President Aquino differ insofar as the fate of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is concerned.

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One option, Abaya said, entails the closure of NAIA by 2030 wherein the new international airport to be operational by 2027 would provide 78 percent of the required passenger terminal building while the international gateway in Clark, Pampanga would handle 22 percent.

The other option, he explained 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, he said the DOTC has already begun preparatory measures to boost expansion efforts at the Clark International Airport 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, and within this month, France’s Aeroport de Paris would begin preparing a master plan for a 45,000-square meter Low Cost Carrier (LCC) terminal valued at P7 billion.

Meanwhile, JICA is currently conducting a site selection study for the new international airport – a long-term development to be commenced and completed in 15 to 20 years. The findings would be submitted to the DOTC by the end of the year.

Rehabilitation works for NAIA Terminal 1 is scheduled to begin next month while the on-going completion of system works at NAIA Terminal 3 by Takenaka Corp. of Japan is schedule to be completed by third quarter of next year.

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