Closure, redevelopment of Naia pushed
The Philippines could realize massive investments to the tune of P5.4 trillion by closing and redeveloping Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the Philippines’s main air gateway.
This was according to conglomerate San Miguel Corp., which made an unsolicited offer to build a subsidy-free P700 billion international airport and city complex in Bulakan, Bulacan within six years.
A document, prepared by SMC’s infrastructure arm, also detailed the heavy cost associated with capacity limitations at Naia, which was surrounded by dense residential and commercial areas, thus limiting expansion options.
SMC said delays had been costing airlines P1.1 billion yearly, and this would increase to P3.8 billion by 2020 if the situation would not change. For passengers, productivity losses also carry a hefty price tag: P2.8 billion today and P11 billion by 2020.
SMC, a food and beverage giant that is continuing its diversification into infrastructure, said the solution was to build an entirely new airport, in this case, on a 2,500-hectare property along Manila Bay in Bulacan. It rivals another offer from Belle Corp. and the Solar Group to reclaim 2,500 hectares of land in offshore Sangley, Cavite to be redeveloped into an airport, seaport and industrial zone.
SMC said Naia covered about 625 hectares, or two and half times larger than Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. The conglomerate estimated the land value at P325 billion, but it noted the multiplier effect in terms of investments could see this figure balloon to P5.4 trillion.
In line with its proposal, SMC will operate the existing Naia “within” 12 months before the new airport comes online. SMC also asked the government to “decommission” Naia 12 months after the new international airport starts operations. It added that the government would still control air traffic of the new air gateway.
The existing Naia has a pair of intersecting runways while SMC’s new airport would have four parallel runways (pairs of 3.5 kilometers and 2.6 km), with provisions for two more. It said each new runway could handle 60 aircraft takeoff and landing events per hour, versus the current 40 at Naia. Capacity would also increase to 100 million passengers a year, with the possibility of doubling this to 200 million passengers yearly.
Naia handled about 39.5 million passengers last year, against its 31 million annual passenger design capacity.
SMC’s airport proposal likewise comes with new road infrastructure links, including an “airport expressway” that would link to North Luzon Expressway and a “shoreline expressway” that would run alongside Manila Bay linking to the Naia Expressway, which SMC also operates.
This would connect the new airport to the southern part of Metro Manila in under 45 minutes, the conglomerate said.
The DOTr said last week it was reviewing all airport proposals. This included offers for Clark International Airport in Pampanga made by the JG Summit Holdings and Filinvest Development Corp. consortium and the group of Megawide Construction Corp. and GMR Infrastructure of India.