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SMC to submit $10-B airport proposal next week

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SMC to submit $10-B airport proposal next week

Gov’t reiterates ‘bias’ against unsolicited proposals

Conglomerate San Miguel Corp. is poised to submit to President Aquino by Tuesday next week a proposal for a new international airport serving Metro Manila, president Ramon S. Ang said.

The $10-billion project proposal is aimed at providing a nearer alternative to Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the country’s busiest gateway that has for the past years been suffering from congestion issues.

Ang said San Miguel, which is part owner of flag carrier Philippine Airlines, was readying the proposal for submission on April 29.

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The move comes as the government, through the Department of Transportation and Communications, was exploring an alternative air gateway, which would likely involve reclaiming land around a former US naval base in Sangley Point, Cavite, south of Metro Manila.

The government and the private sector have been keen on identifying a new airport because the current alternative gateway, Clark International Airport in Pampanga, is located about an hour away from Metro Manila. This distance has made it difficult for Clark to lure passengers and major international carriers.

Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya had said that the ideal location would be from 20 minutes to 30 minutes away from the capital district. Ang said San Miguel’s proposal satisfied this requirement, but he declined to elaborate.

A boom in tourism and trade were among the main draws in establishing an alternative airport. The Department of Tourism was banking on foreign arrivals to hit 10 million in 2016, up from close to 4.7 million visitors last year.

Long-term targets also point to continued growth, according to the Japan International Cooperation Agency, which is helping the DOTC identify a site for a new airport.

Jica, in a 2011 study, said annual passenger forecasts for the greater capital region, which covers the National Capital Region and Regions 3 and 4A, would rise from about 50 million in 2020 to 106.7 million in 2040.

Abaya had said that the transportation department was still open to studying San Miguel’s proposal once it would be submitted. He reiterated, however, the government’s “bias” against unsolicited deals, saying they would still prefer an open and competitive bidding process.

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TAGS: Business, international airport, San Miguel Corp.
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