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Dominguez welcomes SMC Bulacan airport plan

The plan for a P700-billion Bulacan Airport presented by the San Miguel Corporation to the Department of Transportation. (PHOTO FROM SMC PROPOSAL)

Economic managers are open to San Miguel Corp.’s proposal to build another airport near Metro Manila as long as financially viable.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III noted in an interview with reporters last Friday that most mega-cities around the world are being served by multiple airports.

As such, SMC’s proposal to build an airport in Bulacan was welcome, as the Ramon Ang-led conglomerate no longer eyes to replace the Ninoy Aquino International Airport as the country’s main gateway, Dominguez said.

“We want to take a look at what the break-even point is—what level of passengers will be the break-even point to determine whether it’s viable,” the finance chief said.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia told reporters last week that the Department of Finance wanted to know the fiscal and financial implications of the project.

“There were questions on the financial rate of return. What is its basis — does it include income only from the airport, or also the extra?” said Pernia, who heads the state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority.

The Neda chief noted that SMC’s proposal was not just an airport but a so-called “aerotropolis” or a metropolis revolving around an airport.

SMC’s unsolicited proposal, which was earlier awarded an original proponent status, is currently being evaluated by the Neda Investment Coordination Committee (ICC).

The P700-billion new international aerotropolis being pitched by SMC to the Department of Transportation would involve a massive airport spanning 1,168 hectares as well as city complex to be built at a 2,500-hectare location along Manila Bay in Bulakan town.

The proposed airport project would have six parallel runways and an initial capacity of 100 million passenger or over three times that of Naia.

It was proposed under a build-operate-transfer scheme, with SMC to operate the airport under a 50-year concession. As part of the proposal, SMC will build an expressway that would link its airport to the North Luzon Expressway in Marilao, Bulacan.

SMC plans to complete the project within six years. /cbb

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