MANILA, Philippines – A key official of domestic legacy carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) announced plans to build a new airport in an undisclosed location.
At the stockholders meeting of PAL’s parent firm PAL Holdings on Thursday, August 30, airline president Ramon Ang said he will present to President Aquino his proposed new airport facility in January or February 2013.
“It will sit on a 2,000 hectare undisclosed property and can handle 150 take offs per hour,” Ang told PAL stockholders.
“At [a cost of] US$500 million, we will finish the construction in 3 years. It will be complete with viewing area and mall. We are already talking to investors,” explained Ang.
He said the airport will have two runways that can be extended to 4.
Currently, PAL is operating at its exclusive hub at Terminal 2 in Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Manila), currently the main gateway to the country.
NAIA Terminal 2 is already operating beyond capacity, while PAL’s budget arm AirPhil Express is operating at NAIA Terminal 3, which is yet to be fully repaired and rehabilitated.
All airlines at NAIA are constrained by the airport’s 1940’s-era crisscrossed two runways, which can only accommodate less than 40 takeoffs and landings an hour.
The transportation department has required local airlines to reduce flights at NAIA due to the runway congestion.
These capacity constraints and government’s order limit the airlines from fully taking advantage of the growth in the number of airline passengers, mostly overseas Filipinos and tourists.
The Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark, Pampanga, which is 80 kilometers from the capital, is being eyed to replace NAIA as the main gateway but a China-funded rail project, which was meant to address access issues to Clark from Manila, has been stalled.
Since diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp, where Ang is chief operating officer, acquired PAL in April, ambitious deals have been announced, including the planned purchase of 100 new aircraft in the coming years.
The recently announced batch purchase of single- and wide-bodied Boeing aircraft had a list price of about US$7 billion, one of the biggest, if not the biggest, deal in the Philippines.
San Miguel has built and currently operates the airport in Caticlan, the jumpoff point to Boracay island, a major tourist destination in central Philippines and one of the world favorite vacation spots. – Rappler.com