Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is near, if not past, peak capacity that government has no choice but build a new main gateway to the country, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said.
Recto said NAIA’s passenger volume had doubled from 20.4 million in 2007 to 42 million last year.
“If it is increasing its passenger volume by 2.5 million passengers a year, which was the annual increase growth from 2016 to 2017, then there’s no way that the present facilities can handle 10 million additional passengers by 2022, “ Recto said.
“If the projected growth is 3 million annually, then it will be impossible for its present facilities to accommodate 15 million more passengers in five years,” Recto said.
“Parang balde ng tubig ang NAIA. Malapit nang mapuno o umaapaw na nga. Kung ganun, kailangan na ng mas malaki or bagong balde. It is no longer a question of if but when,” Recto said.
Recto said the time that the airport’s maximum carrying capacity will be reached is the deadline for the new airport to be operational.
He said there was a “surplus of plans but a deficit in progress” when it comes to build alternative airports to NAIA or expand it so it can accommodate more flights and passengers.
But merely rehabilitating NAIA without adding a runway will only allow it to increase its passenger handling ceiling to 65 million a year, Recto said.
“Two presidential terms lang yan, baka ma-hit na yang maximum 65 million, at the rate air travel is growing. Kailangan talaga ng isa pa,” he said.
Recto said government must now decide whether NAIA’s decongestion will be through the expansion of Clark airport in Pampanga, the building of San Miguel Corp.’s aeropolis in Bulacan, or the proposal tendered by the “Taipans’ consortium” to expand NAIA.
“I understand that this is not a winner-take-all proposal, but two airports can coexist under the principle of complementarity. Ang dapat pag-usapan natin ang takeoff time ng mga yan, or to use a flight terminology, kelan ba ang ETA – Estimated Time of Arrival, meaning completion, of Bulacan, Clark and NAIA,” Recto said.
One report, however, cited NAIA’s ideal carrying capacity at 31 million passengers yearly. “Kung yan nga ang totoo, then we are past peak capacity. And with no alternative being built, then we are pushing NAIA beyond its limit to the inconvenience and danger of passengers,” Recto said. (End)