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To close down NAIA or not: PNoy to decide

MANILA, Philippines – Should the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) be shuttered by 2030 or allowed to co-exist with Clark International Airport and a yet-to-be-built airport near Metro Manila?
Photo by Rappler.com.
The fate of NAIA will be up for discussion in Malacanang, as the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is set to present President Benigno Aquino III with two options on the development of the country’s gateway airports on Wednesday.
“We will present two options for modernizing our gateway airport system, which will show the world that we are preparing to be one of the top global tourist destinations for the next few decades,” Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said in a statement.
The DOTC is considering two options for the “Gateway Airport Roadmap to 2040″, which will allow the National Capital Region and Regions 3 and 4A to meet a surge in annual passengers in the next few decades.
Both options involve the expansion of Clark International Aiport in Pampanga and the development of a new international airport within 20-30 minutes of Metro Manila. The new airport is targeted to be fully operational by 2027.
However, the two options differ on the fate of NAIA, which has been described as the “worst airport in the world” by a travel website.
The first option provides for NAIA’s closure by 2030, which by then the new international airport would be operational and can provide 78 percent of the required passenger terminal building while the international gateway in Clark would handle 22 percent.
The second option will allow NAIA to co-exist alongside Clark and the new airport up to 2040 and beyond.
The development of gateway airports in the Philippine capital and nearby regions is seen to address the growth in annual passengers.
A 2011 study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) estimated annual passenger forecasts for the Greater Capital Region will rise from 49.8 million in 2020, to 75 million in 2030 and up to 106.7 million in 2040. In 2012, total traffic in the region was already at 31.879 million.
Once the “Gateway Airport Roadmap to 2040″is identified, the DOTC said it will finalize plans to execute the policy.
The DOTC has already started preparing for the expansion at Clark and identifying the site for the new international airport.
At Clark, the 6,000-square meter expansion of its passenger terminal building was recently completed. This month, France’s Aeroport de Paris will begin preparing a master plan for a 45,000-square meter Low Cost Carrier (LCC) terminal in Clark on a grant basis.
At the same time, JICA is conducting a site selection study for the new international airport and will submit its findings to the DOTC by the end of 2013. The new airport is expected to be completed in 15 to 20 years.
The rehabilitation of NAIA Terminal 1 is expected to start in December, while Takenaka’s on-going completion of system works at NAIA Terminal 3 are to be completed by third quarter of 2014.
With reports from ABS-CBN News

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