Poe calls for speedy construction of new airports around the country
Senator Grace Poe on Monday said she believes that the speedy construction of new airports and the rehabilitation of existing ones will address congestion as passenger overcapacity hounds the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).
This is one of the recommendations of the committee that Poe heads, the Senate public services panel that has just wrapped up its probe into airport concerns, including the Xiamen Air plane mishap at the Naia runway.
“Ilalagay natin sa committee report yung naging diskusyon natin sa airport modernization…Malaking bagay iyan dahil sa Bulacan airport pa lamang ay ilang milyong pasahero ang madadagdag na makagagaan sa ating mga pasahero. At yung rehabilitation, until 65 million passengers ang magiging capacity ng NAIA. Malaking bagay at siguro hindi na sila magsisiksikan sa mga terminal,” Poe told reporters after the second hearing.
Naia, which only has a capacity of 31 million passengers, had booked 42.5 million passengers last year, Poe noted.
As for the Clark airport, senators were told that its expansion will be completed in 2020 and will increase its capacity to 12 million.
Meanwhile, Naia will undergo a major “upgrade,” to be undertaken by a “super consortium” composed of seven conglomerates. Initially, the upgrade is expected to be completed by 2021 and is anticipated to increase the airport’s capacity to 65 million passengers.
Another airport, Sangley, currently used by the Philippine military, is also expected to undergo an upgrade. The Cavite provincial government and another private consortium proposed to make Sangley an international hub to handle some 70 million passengers.
Then, the construction of a new airport in Bulacan, being undertaken by San Miguel Holdings (SMH), is expected to handle 100 million passengers when it becomes operational by 2024.
“The government should accelerate the approval and implementation of airport proposals to ensure that tourists and our kababayans do not suffer…On the call of this Honorable Committee for government to fast-track the implementation of the airport proposals, we completely agree,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said during the hearing.
However, Dominguez raised concerns on the financial viability of SMH, a subsidiary of San Miguel Corp., in financing a massive P735-billion Bulacan airport project.
He said SMH had total equity of P60 billion and in constructing a new airport, it may need to shell out P200 billion, something the Cabinet official doubts could be financed. /vvp
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