Sangley ready to serve flights next week
Sangley, Cavite—The Department of Transportation (DOTr) wants to inaugurate the rehabilitated Sangley Airport in Cavite as early as next week, meeting the November 2019 target set by President Duterte.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade led the inspection of the former Air Force Base at the Cavite peninsula in Manila Bay during the first day of its “operational dry run.”
Sangley Airport is expected to initially serve general aviation flights, which refers to noncommercial operations such as private jets and training aircraft.
It will also be the hub for turboprop freighter operations of Cebgo, a subsidiary of budget airline Cebu Pacific.
Those developments will help decongest the nearby Ninoy Aquino International Airport, which is operating well beyond its design capacity.
Tugade told reporters on Tuesday the dry run would last seven days.
“We will inaugurate it but I want it to be operational as a normal airport in seven days,” Tugade said on Tuesday.
The Sangley Airport, formally known as the Danilo Atienza Air Base, has a 2,400 meter runway and an apron that can accommodate up to five turboprop planes.
To solve flooding in the airport, contractor Unimasters Conglomeration Inc. installed pumping facilities and sheet piles to keep water out of the low portions of the runway, company president Wilson Chan said in an interview.
Chan said the sheet piles created a 2-2.5-meter wall to protect lower portions of the airport that are just six inches above the sea level during high tide.
Sangley Airport also features a completed passenger terminal with air-conditioning, CCTV cameras and a capacity of 160 passengers.
However, airlines have yet to express any firm intention to mount scheduled passenger flights using Sangley Airport, accessible from the capital district via a 12-minute ferry ride across Manila Bay or a two-hour bus drive.
Cebgo president Alex Reyes said they had so far committed to operate cargo freighters out of Sangley Airport.
Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines director general Jim C. Sydiongco explained it was the government’s responsibility to provide the infrastructure to stimulate demand.
“If there is no demand there is that option to pump prime the growth of the economy of that community [with infrastructure projects such as airports],” he added.
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