An artist rendition of the proposed Sangley Point International Airport.
World-class gateway envisioned to rise at Sangley
Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - January 28, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The chaos in the congested main international airport seems never ending, but hope remains high the country may finally  have  its longed-for new airport with a proposal to build a massive gateway on a reclaimed land off the coast of Sangley Point.

But it won’t be just any airport. 

Proponents of the Sangley Point International Airport (SPIA), for instance, promised to develop a world-class gateway. 

More importantly, the public sector partnership behind the project guarantees the environmental sustainability of the new gateway.

No less than Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade supports the Sangley airport project.

“The Department of Transportation is supportive of Sangley,” Tugade told The STAR. 

Tugade said the DOTr supports the multi-airport strategy to give passengers more options. Tugade himself recognizes the limitations of the already congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). 

Aside from being a world-class airport, Sangley will also be environmentally sustainable.

The proponents of the airport have committed to observe the highest standards for coastal and fishing towns as the airport is located at a reclaimed land off the coast of Sangley Point.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) picked Sangley Point over Laguna de Bay as the site of the proposed new airport as the cost of reclamation is less compared to Laguna de Bay.

JICA also said that the development of Sangley airport would not harm or damage any protected area or endangered species as there are none in the site. 

According to Tugade, the country’s need for a new airport is urgent.

A JICA study showed that the number of passengers in the greater capital region alone may hit 106.7 million by 2040 from 31.88 million in 2012. It expects passengers from the National Capital Region as well as Central Luzon and Calabarzon to steadily rise to 49.8 million in 2020, 75 million in 2030, and 106.7 million in 2040.

The SPIA project has the full backing of a consortium of Chinese state-owned enterprises made possible through the country’s entry into China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which sets the international framework for the $11 billion project. 

The province of Cavite, the lead government proponent of the project, will form a tripartite government consortium with the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to undertake the project.

A consortium of Chinese state-owned enterprises with more than $1.5 trillion in assets and with one of the largest reclamation fleets worldwide will also back the project.

Under the plan, proponents will build an initial 3.8-kilometer runway which can accommodate Code F planes such as Boeing 747 or Airbus A-380.

It will be immediately established with airport facilities built on the existing facility and with a target completion by 2022. 

The second runway and main terminal is expected to be completed five years after, bringing the total construction time to eight to nine years. 

When completed, the two-runway airport will have a designed annual capacity for 75 million passengers.

More runways will be built in phases, expanding up to four runways that could handle 130 million passengers a year by 2050.

As the lead Philippine government consortium, the Province of Cavite (along with Cavite City) will receive both short-term and long-term benefits in terms of land ownership and airport revenue from the project, aside from the very substantial economic and tax benefits. 

Private carriers is also backing the development of Sangley.

Philippine Airlines president Jaime Bautista said they have already asked the DOTr to fasttrack the completion of Sangley airport.

He said that with the improvement of the Sangley airport, PAL can operate its small airplanes which it now flies out of Clark and Cebu.

“If Sangley airport is developed, we can move some of the flights of the Q400 from Clark to Sangley. This will allow many of the passengers to easily reach Manila. All our Q400s are now operating in Clark and Cebu. So if the Sangley airport is developed, we can fly these airplanes to Sangley,” he said.

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