Lifestyle News: NAIA could be closed in less than 15 years

In less than 15 years, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) could cease to be the country’s international air gateway. This is based on the latest disclosure from the Department of Transportation (DOTr), which is currently evaluating plans to upgrade the air hub and build a new one.

The new estimate on the remaining lifespan of the airport is also aligned with an unsolicited offer lodged by the NAIA Consortium—a group comprising of seven local conglomerates that aim to upgrade and operate NAIA for the coming years. (The group consists of Ayala Corp., Metro Pacific Investments Corp., JG Summit Holdings Inc., Filinvest Development Corp., Asia Emerging Dragon, Aboitiz Equity Ventures, and Alliance Global Group Inc.)

NAIA Consortium originally offered a 35-year concession to operate the international airport with a proposed P350 billion budget. However, current expansion constraints are hindering plans to build new facilities that are necessary for growing operations, including a proposed new parallel runway that could be constructed on a reclaimed land in Manila Bay.

NAIA currently serves 40 million passengers annually. That figure is way above its actual design capacity of just 31 million passengers yearly. NAIA Consortium’s 15-year concession offer aims to increase capacity to 65 million passengers annually—including a proposal to raise aircraft takeoffs and landing activities per hour by 30%.

This new concession proposal is yet to be approved. However, at this time, there are already speculations about the possible construction of a new and bigger international airport. Current options for such development include proposed international gateways in Bulacan (lodged by San Miguel Corp.) and Sangley Point in Cavite.