The government must encourage the construction of a new modern airport to replace the Ninoy Aquino International Airport that has long outlived its usefulness.
Increased domestic and foreign flights have recently overwhelmed Naia, given its limited space and runways, resulting in air traffic congestion and delays in the arrival and departure of planes. Plans to upgrade Naia may not suffice to meet the increasing number of both local foreign air passengers. Such upgrade can only be an interim solution and does not offer a viable, long-term answer to airport congestion.
The proposal of conglomerate San Miguel Corp. to construct a new airport in Bulakan, Bulacan province appears to address the physical limitations of Naia. The Department of Transportation just issued the notice of award to San Miguel, which has proposed to build the P734-billion Bulacan International Airport project just north of Metro Manila.
The department, in giving the go-signal to San Miguel, noted that the new airport would help decongest Naia, while providing the traveling public a world-class facility and connectivity options. The new airport, as promised by the proponent, will be a modern facility that will hopefully transform the sleepy town of Bulacan into a bustling metropolis and a new gateway to Metro Manila and northern Luzon provinces.
San Miguel has tapped the services of global firms Groupe ADPi, Meinhardt Group and Jacobs Engineering to design and build the New Manila International Airport. All three companies were involved in building world-class airports, including Changi Airport in Singapore, Atlanta Airport in the US and Charles de Gaulle Airport in France.
The new airport can be a catalyst to the development of more infrastructure projects in Central Luzon. The NMIA, for one, will include the construction of an 8.4-kilometer tollway that will connect it to North Luzon Expressway in Marilao, Bulacan.
Moreover, with a design capacity of 100-million passengers annually and airside facilities with a configuration of four parallel runways, the airport is expected to boost the tourism potential of the coastal town and neighboring municipalities.
The new airport, in sum, will create new economic activities in the Bulacan stretch of Manila Bay, and greatly decongest Metro Manila.