Airlines agree to relocate flights to Sangley airport — DOTr
MANILA, Philippines — Airline companies have agreed to “fully relocate” their general aviation freight turboprop as well as commercial turboprop operations to Sangley airport in Cavite once the infrastructure is in place, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said Thursday.
The announcement was made after Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade met with officials from Philippine Airlines, AirAsia, and Cebu Pacific to discuss the immediate operationalization of Sangley Airport.
“During the meeting, airlines agreed to use Sangley airport for general aviation, freight turboprop operations, and commercial turboprop operations as soon as the infrastructure is in place,” the DOTr said in a statement.
General aviation refers to non-commercial operations such as private jets and training aircraft.
“General aviation users will be notified to fully relocate in a year’s time to Clark International Airport (CRK) in Pampanga and Sangley airport to help decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia),” the department said.
Tugade said the move will free up space in the four Naia terminals to allow for improvements and additions in the main gateway.
He added that during the meeting, airlines had pledged their support to the government’s initiative to operationalize Sangley airport, as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Malacañang earlier said the President wants Sangley airport to be operational by November to help decongest Naia.
“It was a productive and mutually beneficial meeting. Airlines expressed their willingness and commitment to support the government’s thrust to utilize Sangley airport. This is a solid demonstration of their trust and confidence in the administration of President Duterte,” Tugade said in a statement.
The DOTr said the companies are set to sign a pledge of commitment and support on June 24 to show their cooperation with the government’s move to address aviation concerns.
Also present during the meeting were Manila International Airport Authority (Miaa) General Manager Ed Monreal, Civil Aviation Authority (CAAP) Director General Jim Sydiongco, Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla, Michael Tan of Philippine Airlines (PAL), Lance Gokongwei of Cebu Pacific, and Capt. Dexter Comendador of AirAsia.
Possible penalties for flight delays
The possible imposition of penalties for flight delays attributed to airlines as part of actions to address passenger discomfort was also discussed during the meeting, the DOTr said.
It added that Naia had seen a “substantial increase” in the number of passengers, flights, and airport slots per hour in recent years.
Before 2016, Naia passenger traffic was at 36.5 million. By 2018, the figure has increased to 45 million, or an increase of 8.4 million passengers or 23.08 percent.
During the same period, the number of flights also grew by over 14,000 or 5.75 percent, and airport slots per hour have increased from 36 to 44 or 22.22 percent.
24/7 construction begins
The 24/7 construction of Sangley airport began on Thursday in a bid to meet the November deadline set by President Duterte, the DOTr said.
Construction started last year and is 48.68 percent completed, it added.
“The asphalt overlay of the runway was finished in February this year, while the Passenger Terminal Building is at 18 percent completion rate, the drainage at 71.6 percent, and the hangars at 37 percent,” the department said. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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