Uncertainty hangs over Cavite LGU’s Sangley airport proposal
The Cavite government’s proposed international airport in Sangley Point, Cavite— among the gateways being positioned as an alternative to Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport— remains in the early stage of a long government approval process even as a separate private-sector offer in Bulacan province moves closer to being bid out.
A representative from the Cavite government said they were still seeking clearance from the relevant government agencies, including the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and Philippine Reclamation Authority, to build an international air hub on about 1,500 hectares of reclaimed land around the Danilo Atienza Air Base.
This was after the Department of Transportation issued a “no objection” to the Cavite government’s offer on July 13, 2018.
Reuben Reinoso, transportation undersecretary for planning, clarified at the time that the DOTr still needed to see the final legal framework that the provincial government would use for the project.
Last week, Reinoso said the DOTr had yet to receive details on the legal framework for the project. He added that a separate airport offer from the Tieng family’s Solar Group, which took a backseat in light of the Cavite government’s proposal, remained in the cards.
The Cavite government representative said that project would use an international government-to-government framework, which would be submitted to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda). The project, he said, was backed by local business groups and Chinese state-owned enterprises.
The statements from the DOTr, nevertheless, underscored a layer of uncertainty over the offer of the Cavite government, whose project is formally known as the Sangley Point International Airport.
Under the provincial government’s proposal, the project will have an initial two runways serving 75 million passengers yearly. Additional parallel runways could be built, which would increase capacity to 130 million passengers a year. The initial project cost is expected at around $9.3 billion.
The push for new gateways comes amid worsening congestion in Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport, which serves over 40 million passengers yearly. This is above Naia’s design capacity of 31 million passengers a year.
An offer from private sector-led Naia Consortium would help improve design capacity to 65 million passengers yearly within four years. Further expansion could prove difficult given land constraints around Naia.
The government is also pursuing San Miguel Corp.’s P700- billion proposal to build an aerotropolis in Bulakan, Bulacan. Recently, Reinoso said they would be fine-tuning details of SMC’s offer before it would be sent to the Neda for final approval.
Reinoso earlier noted that assuming the details were ironed out and the Neda Board gave the greenlight, the Swiss challenge and subsequent award could happen toward the end of 2018 or early 2019.
SMC’s offer provides as many as six parallel runways and a capacity of over 100 million passengers yearly.
As those projects are being processed, the expansion of Clark International Airport in Pampanga is ongoing.
The government last December awarded a contract for the construction of a new passenger terminal in Clark Airport while the operations and maintenance component would later be bid out. The project will increase Clark Airport’s current capacity of four million passengers annually to 12 million passengers by 2020.
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