The Transportation Department put on the back burner the separate proposals of the SM-Tieng group and San Miguel Corp. to build a new international gateway in Manila.
“It’s still there. It’s still being considered. But it’s not immediate. It’s more of medium term. They [DOTr] are still accepting these proposals but it has to take backseat for now,” Transportation Undersecretary for aviation Manuel Antonio Tamayo said.
Tamayo said the priority of the government was to improve the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Clark International Airport.
“In Clark, we are building new terminal because you have everything. You have a long runway, you have taxiways, the ramps for parking. It’s fully instrumented. What you need is the passenger terminal,” Tamayo said.
Clark International Airport Corp. plans to build a P1.2-billion low-cost carrier passenger terminal designed by Aeroport De Paris of France.
The new facility can accommodate up to 15 million passengers annually.
San Miguel earlier proposed a $10-billion airport in Bulacan province, while All-Asia Resources and Reclamation Corp., a consortium led by tycoon Henry Sy and the Tieng family, plans to build an international gateway in Sangley, Cavite to replace Naia.
Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, an aviation think tank, earlier said a new airport for Manila was required, but the reality was it could take a decade before the new airport could open.
Capa said in the meantime, the government had an opportunity to improve service levels further and increase capacity. Capa said runway capacity might increase through a transition into a single runway operation.
“Closing Naia’s smaller intersecting runway would improve air traffic management, similarly to the change Mumbai adopted in 2013,” Capa said.
There are currently 5,100 scheduled commercial weekly flights per week at Naia, according to OAG data. This equates to an average of 365 takeoffs and 365 landings per week. Movements are now capped at 40 per hour.
Naia accounts for nearly 90 percent of all domestic passengers in the Philippines and more than 80 percent of all international passengers.
The airport handled 39.5 million passengers in 2016, including 20.6 million domestic and 18.9 million international passengers.