By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
The recent debacle at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) forced entrepreneurs to call on the government to consider the unsolicited proposal of San Miguel Corporation to build, operate, and build an international access point in Bulacan. maintained for P700 billion.
In a statement, Francis Chua, chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines and chairman emeritus of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), said the proposal of San Miguel is the practical answer to the country's misery at NAIA , the premier of the country's international airport.
In a separate statement, PCCI president Alegria "Bing Limjoco said that PCCI has consistently called for a multi-airport policy where NAIA could be a hub and gateway for domestic air travel, Clark for international flights and Sangley for general aviation.
Limjoco also said: "San Miguel's proposal for an airport in Bulacan is another project that is worth considering."
The incident with the Xiamen-NAIA is a wake-up call for authorities to deal with the congestion at NAIA. The core of the problem are security problems, inconvenience to passengers and missed business income, all of which have marked this unfortunate incident.
"It is no longer a question of the viability of NAIA to meet the increasing number of travelers, it is already known that our first-class airport will reach its maximum capacity of 30 million passengers (combined for the 3 terminals)," said Limjoco.
The facilities of the airport terminal and runway – are larger than the current capacity of the airport, and even the rehabilitation of Terminal 1, in which the terminal interiors have been redesigned to provide more spacious passenger movement spaces, is not enough to meet the future requirements. Furthermore, there is no room for lateral expansion because NAIA is wedged between motorways and subdivisions.
"It is high time that the government decides what to do with NAIA, and NAIA congestion must be solved most quickly or we have missed more economic opportunities and fished flat again without any unforeseen circumstances," she said.
Chua said for his part: "After carefully studying all airport proposals today, we are convinced that the proposal of New Manila International Airport from San Miguel Corporation is best for the Philippines."
At no cost to the government and without any subsidies or guarantees, San Miguel has proposed to build a futuristic "aerotropolis" with up to four parallel runways – which can be further expanded to six.
As an unsolicited proposal, the project will be subject to the Swiss challenge. The national economic and development authority (NEDA) already has the San Miguel proposal.
With capacity for 60 aircraft movements per runway per hour, this will eliminate all congestion problems and significantly increase our attractiveness as a tourism and investment destination in the region.
The modern air terminals and freight facilities, together with their own seaport and industrial zone, also make it strategically focused on increasing growth opportunities for our country and offering more convenience to our compatriots.
It is also the best option when it comes to accessibility. The hotel is located just north of Metro Manila in Bulacan, Bulacan, or some 27 kilometers from the current NAIA, and is reachable within 45 minutes from anywhere in Metro Manila via multiple motorways.
Many of the necessary infrastructure components are already in place, such as the Skyway system and the ongoing expansion projects and the NLEX. Also under construction is the MRT-7 and MRT-7 road, which will connect with a proposed Airport Expressway.
Apart from this, a coastal freeway from the NAIA motorway has also been proposed, right through Manila and Navotas through the New Manila International Airport.
"It is time we have a truly world-class airport that we can all be proud of, one that will match the best in the region and the world." Our country needs it and our people deserve it, "he said .
The recent NAIA fiasco, he pointed out, has made the inherent problems of the NAIA too clear, and why it is no longer sustainable as the main gateway to our country.
He explained that with only two intersecting jobs and virtually no room for additional runways, Chua said, NAIA can no longer serve the needs of the growing economy and population, let alone be a catalyst for economic growth.
"The government should now make every effort to pave the way for a new international gateway outside Metro Manila, which will serve as a long-term, future-proof solution to airport congestion problems that have stopped our country for so long," he concluded.