Somebody only has to visit the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the primary air transportation hub in the Philippines’ National Capital Region, and they will know that it has long been straining at the sheer volume of airliner and passenger traffic that goes through it. It has long been proposed that a new airport complex to service Metro Manila and surrounding areas be built, with the San Miguel Holdings Corporation getting a project award from the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to begin work on an airport in Bulacan. Despite a challenge from environmental groups, the contract has been finalized allowing SMHC to start working on the project by year’s end.
CNN Philippines reports that Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade finalized the contract award to San Miguel Holdings Corporation for construction the New Manila International Airport in Bulacan municipality of Bulacan province, by signing it this Wednesday, September 18. With that, the San Miguel Aerocity Inc. unit of SMHC will now have P734 billion to erect the complex, followed by their taking up operations and maintenance of the New Manila International Airport once it is finished. The signing of the agreement by Sec. Tugade and San Miguel President/COO Ramon Ang took place in Pampanga’s Clark Freeport Zone, at the ASEAN Convention Center.
As Ang tells it, he believes full-barrel work on Bulacan by San Miguel Aerocity will commence at the end of the year, with a formal groundbreaking scheduled for some time in December. They already have engineering works ready and waiting in the area from two years ago, illustrating the lengthy period of deliberation and preparation for this construction project. Upon completion, the New Manila International Airport will be operated on concession by SM Aerocity for a period of 50 years from its opening date. They will be given no government guarantees, subsidies and right-of-way costs.
It had been child’s play for San Miguel Holdings to ace the contract for the airport in Bulacan. They presented an unsolicited proposal to the Department of Transportation back in August, and no other company bothered to show them up with counter-proposals. The New Manila Airport will occupy roughly 2,500 hectares in Bulacan, and will be accessible to Manila only 30 kilometers away. The airport will serve to decongest traffic of passengers and aircraft at NAIA; it is projected to be able to handle 30 million tourist arrivals and will be an economic boon for the Region of Central Luzon.
The four runways of the soon-to-build airport are expected to be finished five years from the start of construction. DOTr has given SMHC a minimum four to maximum six years for the project’s total completion.
Image from The Filipino Times