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International carriers seek master plan for new airport

“What is needed is a master plan for aviation in the Philippines, especially for airports in Manila to cater to the needs of Metro Manila region and then act on it. Start digging,” Vinoop Goel, regional director for airport, passenger, cargo and security for Asia Pacific at IATA said in a briefing yesterday. File photo

MANILA, Philippines – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is urging the government to finalize the master plan for the development of an international airport, which will cater to the Metro Manila region as passenger traffic in the country is expected to continue to grow.

“What is needed is a master plan for aviation in the Philippines, especially for airports in Manila to cater to the needs of Metro Manila region and then act on it. Start digging,” Vinoop Goel, regional director for airport, passenger, cargo and security for Asia Pacific at IATA said in a briefing yesterday.

He said there is a need to finalize the master plan given the various proposals being floated for the development of a new airport in the Metro Manila region amid congestion at the country’s main international gateway, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

San Miguel Corp. (SMC) president and COO Ramon Ang has revived a proposal to build a new international airport for Metro Manila in Bulacan.

During the previous administration, SMC has offered to build an airport on a reclaimed land in Manila Bay.

Under the Aquino administration, the Japan International Cooperation Agency has also been tapped to come up with a study to determine the location of the new international airport for Manila.

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All-Asia Resources and Reclamation Corp. which is led by the Tieng family, likewise has plans of building an international airport and seaport on reclaimed land off the coast of Sangley Point in Cavite.

“All these different analyses have been done but we need to come up with a solution and act on it. Each solution has its pros and cons but what the government needs is to come up with a policy statement,” Goel said.

Goel said the master plan should define the roles of the NAIA as well as the Clark International Airport which is currently being promoted by the government as an alternative to the Manila airport.

While it is working on the master plan, Goel said it is essential for government to optimize capacity at airports by using technology to enable faster passenger processing with passenger traffic seen to continue growing.

Citing IATA’s forecasts, he said the volume of passengers using the airports in the Philippines is seen to grow to 140 million by 2035, with 3.4 million jobs created and $23 billion worth of contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) from 60 million passengers, 1.4 million jobs and $10 billion contribution to GDP in 2014.

Transport Undersecretary Roberto Lim said the government intends to start work on development of a new airport for Metro Manila before the end of the term of President Duterte.

For now, the government is working on addressing the congestion at the NAIA.

The NAIA is set to undergo an upgrade under the public-private partnership (PPP) program.

The P74.6 billion PPP project covers transferring the operations and maintenance of the airport to the private sector, as well as improvement of the airport’s facilities.

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