PAL mulls over P9B Naia 2 expansion plan
MANILA, Philippines–Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is studying a $200-million (P9 billion) expansion plan for the existing Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 to cater to increasing demand seen in the next few years.
PAL president Jaime Bautista said the expansion project would rise on an adjacent lot that used to be Nayong Pilipino—an 18-hectare complex that has long been idle.
According to Bautista, the proposed terminal will be used mainly for international flights, and must be able to cater to at least 10 million passengers a year, on top of the eight million now being served by Naia Terminal 2, which is nearing full capacity.
“This is important. It’s part of our long-term plan, which is to expand Terminal 2,” Bautista told the Inquirer in a recent interview. “If I had my way, I’d like the project started before the end of the year.”
PAL currently has a fleet of 73 aircraft and is taking delivery of 38 more from European plane maker Airbus over the next five years and possibly longer if deferrals are allowed. The carrier, owned by tycoon Lucio Tan, mainly operates in Naia Terminal 2, also known as the Centennial Terminal, which opened in 1999.
PAL has already secured a 25-year lease for a portion of the Nayong Pilipino property, Bautista said. He said PAL would spend about P600 million for the area to be used as “parking” for PAL’s expanding fleet.
So far, PAL has not made any formal proposal to the government for a terminal expansion project. But this is not unusual given the current administration’s stand against unsolicited proposals.
Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya had repeatedly noted the administration’s preference for an open bidding process instead.
Because of this, other business groups have held back from coming forward with their own solutions to address the congestion at Naia, including a $10-billion Manila Bay international airport that San Miguel Corp. presented to Malacañang last year.
Bautista noted that PAL was also open to the government’s plan to build what is being called the Naia Terminal 5. The move was in response to growing passenger congestion, coming ahead of a long-term plan to build a new international airport at Sangley Point, Cavite.
The four existing terminals at Naia handle about 32 million passengers a year and the maximum capacity of 35 million will likely be reached this year, the Japan International Cooperation Agency said.
But the new terminals may not address air traffic congestion, which is made worse by the fact that Naia only has two runways. A plan last year to build a third runway was scrapped and the Transportation department said it would focus on increasing runway efficiency.
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