MAP supports a holistic aviation system for Greater Manila Area, Luzon
The rapid increase in the volume of visitors to the Philippines, most of whom pass through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), calls for immediate action and the harnessing of all available resources to promptly provide the needed infrastructure and management support for the growing number of air passengers.
We in the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) advocate a holistic approach to the development of an aviation system for the Greater Manila Area and Luzon.
The MAP welcomes the announcements of the government to undertake certain infrastructure projects, which are the indispensable components of the envisioned holistic aviation system.
Accordingly, we fully support the plan of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to optimize, through upgrades, the existing Naia while redeveloping the Clark International Airport (CIA).
A city airport, such as Naia, has the great advantage of accessibility. Many large cities in the world recognize this, so they are improving and maintaining their old airports instead of phasing them out. Tokyo is expanding its Haneda to supplement Narita. Shanghai has its HongXiao in addition to Pudong. Berlin’s Tempelhoff continues to operate in addition to Tegel. Washington, D.C. has Reagan National besides Dulles and Baltimore.
We back the decision of DOTr to maintain and upgrade Naia, a valuable state asset. Upgrading the existing Naia facilities now will provide early and welcome relief to the present problem of severe passenger and aircraft traffic congestion at a time well within the term of the current administration. Pending completion of the upgrades, one quick way of mitigating the congestion in Naia is to make Clark attractive as an alternate departure and arrival airport through appropriate inducements.
A fast train between Tutuban and Clark has been presented as part of the “Build, Build, Build” program under Dutertenomics. This is the second important component of the proposed aviation system, next to the two air gateways (i.e., Naia and Clark). A fast train link between the two airports, passing through the metropolis at a travel time of one hour maximum, will enable Clark to augment Naia’s operations while it, at the same time, serves the needs of air travelers to and from Central and Northern Luzon.
For better connectivity and convenience of the traveling public, we suggest that the proposed fast train to Clark be extended to Naia, instead of terminating at Tutuban, Manila.
In-city check-in stations will be a vital third infrastructure component of the aviation system. These check-in stations should be easily accessible and are to be strategically located adjacent to the fast train and near either the NLEX-SLEX expressway or Edsa. One such facility could be located at the MPIC-proposed fast train terminal at the junction of Gil Puyat (Buendia) Avenue and PNR line in Makati.
The MRT3 Common Station at the intersection of Edsa and North Avenue in Quezon City would be a good site for the second station, if such will likewise be served by or linked to the fast train. An in-city check-in facility will provide travellers the added convenience of dropping off their baggage before they board the train. Such facilities have proven their worth in large metropolitan cities, including Singapore and Hong Kong.
Pending the train service, we recommend the setting up of transport connection from these check-in stations to Naia and to Clark via point-to-point (P2P) airport limousine service using modern tourist-type buses that can quickly negotiate the distance.
We believe that together with the other components of the envisioned aviation system, optimization will extend the usefulness of Naia for another eight to ten years. However, we strongly recommend that the government look beyond that time frame and plan for the long term sustainable future of Naia. Studies have been made to increase the airside capacity of Naia with the construction of a new parallel runway. Others involve complementing or replacing Naia with a new airport. It would be ideal if, before the end of the current administration in 2022, a definite path would be plotted for the future of Naia.
Finally, a centralized management of the entire aviation system under a single authority would appear to be a preferable organizational structure for expeditious decision-making, better control, and efficient coordination. This does not preclude the setting up of a separate managing board for each facility under the supervision of the centralized authority.
Also, the outsourcing of operation and maintenance (O&M) of each facility using the public private partnership (PPP) mode is an option. Such outsourcing of O&M would enable the government to avail of private sector expertise, technology, and incentive system for efficient O&M of the facilities without giving up ownership and control of strategic capital assets for aviation.
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