June 14, 2019
AIRLINES have pledged to move some of their flights to the still-unfinished Sangley airport in Cavite province in support of President Rodrigo Duterte’s mandate to decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Department of Transportation (DoTr) said on Thursday.
In a statement, the Transportation department said the pledge came after Secretary Arthur Tugade met with Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Ed Monreal, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines Director General Jim Sydiongco, Civil Aeronautics Board Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla, PAL Holdings Director and Treasurer Michael Tan, Cebu Pacific Chief Executive Officer Lance Gokongwei and AirAsia President Dexter Comendador.
“It was a productive and mutually beneficial meeting,” Tugade was quoted as saying in the statement. “Airlines expressed their willingness and commitment to support the government’s thrust to utilize Sangley airport.”
Airline companies are set to sign on June 24 a pledge of commitment and support for the government’s vision to address the country’s aviation concerns, according to the department.
The statement came after the President imposed a November deadline for the airport’s completion, prompting the DoTr to order its non-stop construction.
Since construction began last year, the airport’s completion rate currently stands at 48.68 percent; its passenger terminal building, 18 percent; drainage, 71.6 percent; and hangars, 37 percent. The asphalt overlay of the runway was finished in February.
Once construction is complete, Sangley airport would be used for general aviation, freight turboprop operations and commercial turboprop operations, the DoTr said, freeing up space at NAIA’s terminal facilities.
Mr. Duterte imposed the deadline after hinting of a possible revamp at the country’s main gateway following his “surprise” inspection amid reports of flight delays and cancellations.
“In recent years, NAIA saw a substantial increase in the number of passengers, flights and airport slots [an] hour, resulting in a distressing state of congestion,” the DoTr said.
Before 2016, it added, passenger traffic at NAIA hit 36.5 million, before ballooning to 45 million by 2018.
The number of flights last year also increased by 5.75 percent, or more than 14,000, while airport slots [an] hour also climbed from 36 to 44.
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