Airline operators want new airport to replace NAIA

“Start digging.”

This is what an official of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the trade association of world airlines, wanted the Philippine government to do as it sought the master plan for a new international airport.

The Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila posted 36,681,601 passengers in 2015, a 7.84 percent increase from the 34,015,169 recorded in 2014.

The NAIA has a handling capacity of only 28 million passengers and already operating beyond its designed capacity.

The IATA’s forecasts indicated that passenger volume at the NAIA will grow to 140 million by 2035 or 19 years from now.

Vinoop Goel, IATA regional director for airport, passenger, cargo and security for Asia Pacific said there is a need to finalize the master plan for the development of a new international airport amid the air traffic congestion at the NAIA.

“What is needed is a master plan for aviation in the Philippines, especially for airports in Manila to cater to the needs of Metro Manila region and then act on it. Start digging.”

President Rodrigo Duterte has specifically directed the development of the Clark International Airport in Mabalacat City as an alternative airport. The Clark airport has two 3.2-kilometer parallel runways that can accommodate the largest aircraft in the world such the A380s and the Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

During the Aquino administration, the San Miguel Corp. (SMC) has a proposal to build a new international airport in Bulacan.

Recently, All-Asia Resources and Reclamation Corporation has also aired its plan to build a $20 billion airport on a reclaimed land off the coast of Sangley Point in Cavite. The international airport in Cavite City will rise in a 2500-hectare reclaimed land and will have a 50 million passenger capacity.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) had come up with a study for the location of the new international airport in the past. The JICA apparently suggested Cavite City as future site of the international airport.

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