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The Bridge of flight: Runway Manila connects NAIA 3 to Newport City

Passengers passing through Runway Manila towards Newport City will be brought down via elevator access beside Belmont Hotel, which has a cafe that is perfect for waiting passengers.

MANILA, Philippines - Whether in its metaphorical or material form, a bridge makes the lives of people more convenient, expedient, and less congested.

This is best highlighted as the P1.5- billion Runway Manila was unveiled, a pedestrian crosswalk that connects the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 with its neighboring Newport City, making trips to and from the once traffic-addled airport a relative breeze.    

Runway Manila is designed after pedestrian walkways found in leading international airports from Changi to Kansai.

The Proposal

Replicating pedestrian walkways found in leading international airports from Changi to Kansai, Runway Manila presents a refreshing, air-conditioned access, replete with wide, PWD-friendly tiled walks, fully-functioning walkalators and elevators, suspended 65m. above Andrews Avenue and the new NAIA expressway, which connects the bustling Terminal 3 airport with the buzzing Newport City compound.

“Outside of the airport, Runway Manila will be the first thing many visitors will go through after their arrival and the last before they depart. And that is why we want to make it a premier gateway to the country, and a worthy showcase of all the best things we have to offer,” explained Alliance Global Group Inc. (AGI) chairman, Dr. Andrew Tan, who was also the chief proponent of the multi-billion-peso project.

Alliance Global Group Inc.’s 25-hectare Newport City is home to international brand hotels, high-rise residences, offices, conference, retail, and entertainment centers which make it a draw for Manila-bound tourists as well as those departing from the country’s main ports. Its landmark property, Resorts World Manila, has long been offering world-class Filipino entertainment through its Newport Performing Center since it opened in 2009, and AGI opted to utilize Filipino talents as well in building the hallmark connector.

“It is 100 percent designed and built by Filipino architects and engineers,” Dr. Tan assured, under the sketches of architects Juan Seriña Jr. and Raymond Hernandez, who seamlessly divided Runway Manila from the clean, antiseptic halls leading from the airport terminal access towards the more exciting, LED-lit ceilings, and diagonal steel and glass-walled façade of the Newport City access.

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Surprisingly, the project was completed after only four months since its groundbreaking December of last year, in time for the ASEAN Summit 2017 meetings due to commence next week.   

“I remember, back when I wasn’t secretary yet, I had a flight at NAIA 3. We’re all familiar with the traffic here, so, I opted to go earlier and eat at Resorts World Manila, thinking that in five minutes, I’d be able to reach the airport,” recalled DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, shortly before declaring the 200-meter walkway formally open to the public. “But, after I left, it took me an hour before I reached NAIA 3. It was very frustrating for me, because from where I was, I could clearly see the airport. These stories are ridiculous, but people go through this every day.”

Now, think of the average 6,000 OFWs who leave the country daily, the growing number of Filipino tourists who are expanding their horizons through domestic and international travel, as well as some 70 percent of foreign visitors who arrive and leave through our capital port. Terminal 3, which can cater to 20 million passengers annually, must be a constant source of headaches and heartbreaks. 

Building better, building stronger: Alliance Global Inc. (AGI) chairman Andrew Tan (second from right) with (from left) AGI executive director Kevin Tan, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia usher in the government’s Build Build Build Program. Photos by Miguel Antonio De Guzman

The Promise

“This project was done so swiftly, and it has the highest economic return for government. The economic return for the government from this project is infinite because it did not cost us anything,” stated Sec. Villar. “It is a symbol of what can be possible if the government and the private sector are working hand in hand,” he added.

Fresh out of unveiling President Duterte’s Build Build Build program, which combines the efforts of the National Economic Development Authority, Bases Conversion and Development Authority, with the public works, finance, budget management, and transportation departments, in expediting priority infrastructure projects that would benefit urban and rural mobility, economic returns, and tourism potentials, Runway Manila represents the first successful build out of the administration’s revitalized construction blueprint.

“Tonight, as a nightcap to a very hectic day, we inaugurate a completed project. If we are to do a description of all these projects, we are underscoring what our President Duterte would like to do with (infrastructure) projects: ‘Planuhin mo. Umpisahan mo. Tapusin mo.’ (Plan it. Start it. Finish it.),” said Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade after finishing the first crossing at the new Runway Manila. Referring to Dr. Andrew Tan, he added, “With this project, you have given the Filipino passengers and travelers a new life, a new dawn, a new experience.”

With plenty of other infrastructure projects on the horizon that would need the financial aid and developmental expertise of the private sector, AGI refuses to stop with its 1.5-billion-peso expense. “We are definitely looking at a lot of (government) projects right now, especially those that have a lot of benefits for our core businesses, which are tourism, real estate, and township development,” revealed AGI’s executive director Kevin Tan.

Now that new airport terminals, railway projects, and expressways are drafted well across the country, perhaps what Runway Manila concretely exemplifies, other than its capacity to empower and enhance the lives of people, is that proper investment done in the name of national development is always good for business. “We hope to be able to really contribute to the growth of our economy. We hope that we can build more projects like this that puts into mind the benefits of the general public,” enthused Kevin Tan.

* * *

The Runway Manila is officially opened to the public, free of charge, connecting the Newport Boulevard with the second level of NAIA Terminal 3.

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