Japan International Cooperation Agency Proposes Sangley as Third Runway
In the midst of President Aquino ordering the construction of a third runway at the highly congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport complex, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) revealed another proposal last month.
GMA News: October 20, 2014 12:58 AM
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JICA has proposed that the airport at Sangley Point in Cavite should be linked to Manila International Airport under an integrated airspace with NAIA until 2025. According to Joseph Abaya, Transportation Secretary, if the proposal of the Japan International Cooperation Agency is adopted, Sangley Airport would be poised to become part of the existing operations at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
However, it remains unclear whether the Japan International Cooperation Agency is proposing that NAIA be linked to Sangley Airport through the construction of a taxiway, or if they are still to be classified as two separate airports.
"JICA's recommendation means that, in effect, the new Sangley Airport will be NAIA's third runway until greater expansion can be made in the long-term," said Abaya. President Aquino has already ordered the construction of a two-kilometre parallel runway next to Runway 6-24 that can accommodate narrow body aircraft. The goal is to decongest the airspace until 2025, when a new airport could become operational to either replace or complement NAIA.
The Philippine government believes that if Sangley was integrated into operations at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the initial investment in the massive airport project could be significantly lower as reclamation would only need to cover a taxiway connecting NAIA and the Sangley runway.
"Upgrading Sangley's existing airport may be done faster and at a lower cost, since initial reclamation will be needed for only one to two runways, instead of three to four," said Abaya. "This will significantly bring down JICA's initial ballpark estimate of $10 billion to build a four-runway airport in Sangley." The proposal would provide the Ninoy Aquino International Airport with three parallel runways including the existing Runway 6-24, the new parallel runway for narrow-body aircraft that is due to be constructed at NAIA, and the runway at Sangley airport.
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If the runway proposal was to push through, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport would be open to tremendous expansion capacity as Sangley could provide two additional runways, plus additional space at the complex for future growth. However, other options remain for 2025 and beyond. As Sangley is expanded into a four-runway airport, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport could either be closed, merged into a mega complex airport with Sangley, or operated under a dual-airport system, leaving Clark International Airport out in the dust.
The Department of Transportation and Communications is currently preparing a feasibility study of the various proposed options, which is set for completion in 2015. The project would begin construction in 2017, with an estimated completion date of 2024. Abaya added that the government still needs to finalize the best airport strategy and present it to President Aquino at the soonest possible opportunity. Meanwhile, the government will continue to pursue the development of Clark International Airport.