MANILA, Philippines – Airline passengers from Metro Manila and nearby provinces will reach over 100 million by 2040, forecasts the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Will the country’s old and congested main airport in Manila be able to accommodate them?
This is the consideration as the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) crafts an airport roadmap until 2040.
The agency is looking at two options – both of which will involve the construction of a new international airport.
The new airport will be “within 20 to 30 minutes of Metro Manila” and will be operational by 2027.
“We will present two options for modernizing our gateway airport system, which will show the world that we are preparing to be one of the top global tourist destinations for the next few decades,” said Transportation secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.
According to JICA, passengers from the National Capital Region as well as Central Luzon and Calabarzon will rise to 49.8 million in 2020, 75 million in 2030 and 106.7 million in 2040 from 31.88 million in 2012.
The two options for the airport roadmap will be presented to President Benigno Aquino III.
The options differ insofar as the fate of NAIA is concerned.
One will entail the closure of the Manila airport by 2030, which will mean that the new airport should serve 78% of passenger volume. The Clark International Airport (CIA) in Pampanga, which has also been eyed as an alternative to NAIA, will handle the remaining 22%.
The other option, meanwhile, will allow NAIA to co-exist with CIA and the new airport “up to 2040 and beyond.”
Once the gateway airport roadmap to 2040 is identified, DOTC said it will finalize its plans to execute the policy.
While this process is ongoing, DOTC said it has begun implementing expansion plans for Clark and looking for a site for the new airport.
Clark expansion, NAIA rehab
At the Clark airport, the government recently completed the 6,000-square meter expansion of the passenger terminal building.
Within this month, France’s Aeroport de Paris will also start preparing a master plan for a 45,000-square meter low-cost carrier terminal on a grant basis.
The much-awaited rehabilitation of NAIA Terminal 1 will also begin in December, said DOTC. On the other hand, completion of system works at the Terminal 3 is expected by the third quarter of 2014.
As for the new airport, JICA is currently conducting a site selection study and will submit its findings to the transport department by the end of this year. – Rappler.com