$15-B project to solve airport woes
A new international aviation hub with four runways will prevent a repeat of last weekend’s disruption of flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport that affected thousands of travelers nationwide, according to the head of the country’s largest conglomerate.
At the same time, the $15-billion “aerotropolis” that San Miguel Corp. is proposing to build in Bulacan will help spur development just north of Metro Manila and decongest vehicular traffic in the capital’s perennially clogged arteries, company president Ramon S. Ang said.
“Taken together with the ongoing MRT-7 project, people will be able to live and work in an area with more affordable real estate prices, and reach Edsa in 25 minutes with their train service,” he said, referring to the ongoing Metro Rail Transit line 7 project—a commuter rail system that will run from Quezon City to Bulacan.
The privately funded airport complex will take six years to complete from the time the project breaks ground and will involve no government guarantees, according to project documents seen by the Inquirer.
It will rise on a 2,500-hectare property immediately north of Navotas along the Manila Bay shoreline, which the conglomerate acquired in recent years.
At present, economists estimate that air traffic congestion at the 70-year-old Naia costs airlines as much as P1.1 billion annually in losses for fuel and operating expenses. This is projected to rise to P3.8 billion a year by 2020.
Meanwhile, an estimated P2.8 billion worth of passenger productivity is lost each year due to flight delays under present Naia passenger volumes. This is expected to rise to P11 billion in productivity losses annually at the present rate that passenger traffic is growing in the country’s main aviation hub.
San Miguel said its proposed airport—in addition to not relying on government funding—would be able to accommodate as many as 200 million passengers annually, and will be accessible from Metro Manila, north and south Luzon by multiple expressways. The first two runways will be operational in five years, while two more will be completed on the sixth year.
The proposal calls for the project to be transferred to government ownership at the end of a 50-year concession period.
As a bonus, Ang said the conglomerate would also help address Bulacan’s perennial flooding problem by building a spillway that would allow excess water from the increasingly deforested Angat and Ipo dam watersheds to drain directly into Manila Bay.
“This will solve the flooding that have been affecting many areas of the province for many years now,” he said.
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