The Department of Transportation said Tuesday it inaugurated the upgraded airside facilities of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to increase the maximum allowable commercial aircraft movement in the country’s primary gateway.
The agency said it completed the repair and cement overlay of NAIA’s Runway 13/31, the shorter of the two runways, and the construction of an additional holding area (H5) at Runway 13 (153 meters long by 22 meters wide). The longer Runway 06/24 is used mainly by large aircraft.
It said the upgrade would boost the gateway’s maximum allowable commercial flight movement capacity from 40 to 50 flight movements per hour, or a total of 240 commercial flight movements a day.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said the upgraded NAIA airside facilities showed that MIAA could pursue development projects at the gateway on its own.
“Today I am very, very happy and full of gratitude,” said Tugade, adding that the project was completed by the government on its own and not under unsolicited proposal from the private sector.
NAIA’s airside facilities including its runways, taxiways, aircraft holding areas/points and aprons constantly suffered from potholes and surface depressions which caused longer aircraft ground time prior to landing and/or take off, and limited number of aircraft movements per hour which caused flight delays and congestion.
Tugade earlier directed the NAIA management to continue improving NAIA while waiting for the private sector’s unsolicited proposals.
“The aviation industry was not spared from the pandemic’s dire effects. However, it also opened an opportunity for us in the MIAA, to redirect our efforts to prepare for the post-COVID travel scenario. Even as there are talks of proposals from the private sector, the MIAA continued the rehabilitation of NAIA facilities as guided by our good Secretary, Secretary Tugade,” Manila International Airport Authority general manager Eddie Monreal said.
“These projects were carried out to bring alive our vision of uplifting the lives of our fellow countrymen through the services we can offer for aviation,” he said.
Monreal said the agency was confident that when additional airside related projects were completed in 2021 and 2022, it could achieve the goal of 60 commercial flight movements per hour on its own.
The concrete overlay used in the improvement of Runway 13 is expected to last between 15 and 20 years and is less prone to potholes, soft spots and rutting, he said.
A concrete surface also requires less maintenance and repair which would mean less traffic delays and flight disruptions in NAIA.