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Gov’t sets aside P2B for dev’t of airports

The government has earmarked about P2 billion over the next two years to redevelop and redesignate airports in Cavite and Cagayan de Oro to decongest the country’s main gateway, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) in Metro Manila.

Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya said the plan would be implemented in two stages, starting with the relocation of an air force base in Sangley Point, Cavite to Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro.

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With Sangley Point freed up, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) may redevelop the area into a general aviation services hub for Metro Manila.

The main hub for general aviation services—which include flying schools and corporate flights—is currently located at the Naia complex, which borders the cities of Pasay and Parañaque.

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Abaya estimated that it would cost the government P1 billion to have the Philippine Air Force replicate its facilities in Lumbia, which used to be the gateway to Cagayan de Oro before Laguindingan Airport was opened earlier this month.

“We will give them [Philippine Air Force] a year to relocate,” Abaya said, referring to the 15th Strike Wing housed at the Danilo Atienza Air Base in Sangley Point.

“Once they have transferred we can take possession of Sangley and develop it for a year for another P1 billion,” Abaya said, describing a general aviation hub that may serve all the needs of Metro Manila.

Sangley has also been considered as a possible site for a new international airport. The plan is being pursued by a Filipino consortium and a Malaysian group.

Abaya confirmed that one of the contenders is William Tieng of the Solar Group.

“In Sangley, there are two proponents. They are finishing their feasibility studies,” Abaya said.

The DOTC has been looking into options to increase runway efficiency and decongest flights at Naia. Part of the plan is to develop provincial airports into international air facilities.

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“It is very important for tourists to land very close to the beach or their hotel rooms. So when tourists fly directly to a provincial international airport, that may further decongest Naia,” Abaya said.

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