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Bulacan airport opens in 4 years

Maria Romero

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The P735-billion New Manila International Airport (NMIA), touted as the single-largest investment ever in the Philippines, is set for opening in just four years from now.

San Miguel Corp. (SMC) president Ramon S. Ang on Thursday bared plans to set the massive airport running in as early as 2025.

“All of these, Mr. President, will solve our decades-long problem of land and air traffic congestion. Together, we are building the foundation for future economic growth that’s inclusive and sustainable,” Ang said during the inauguration of the Skyway Stage 3 on Thursday.

Ang likewise committed to boosting investments in other industries across the regions — from food and beverage production, agriculture, power security, and soon, renewable energy.

“This is the best way we can meaningfully contribute to nation-building. We are committed to sustainably re-invest what we have, create more business opportunities, generate more jobs, and spread growth across the archipelago,” the tycoon said.

Ang underscored that the job-creating capabilities of the project will aid faster economic growth and recovery amid the pandemic.

Apart from the workforce required to build the project, it also gives rise to many smaller industries to boost local economies.

The Bulacan airport project, in particular, is estimated to generate 30 million direct and indirect jobs, Ang said.

SMC’s NMIA aims to have a passenger capacity of over 100 million annually. It has three times the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s (NAIA) current design capacity.

The airport will be built in a 2,400-hectare property in Bulakan, Bulacan.

NMIA will have four runways, eight taxiways, and three passenger terminals and provisions for future expansion to sport six runways and to accommodate 200 million passengers per year.

The airport project will connect to major thoroughfares in the metropolis. It will have four-parallel runways and modern, world-class facilities.

Ang recently said that he sees the closure of NAIA after 10 years and the land on which it sits being sold to raise trillions of pesos to pay off government debts.

Ang, who recently launched a fresh bid to operate and maintain NAIA through a 10-year concession noted that the fate of NAIA will be left to the government to decide.

He pointed out that the eventual closure of NAIA will also provide a massive boost to SMC’s airport project.

SMC, the country’s largest and most diversified conglomerate, was given the go-signal in September 2019 to proceed with the development and construction of NMIA.

The company has been granted a franchise to construct domestic and international airports in Bulacan, after the bill that awarded it had not been signed by President Rodrigo Duterte within 30 days after his office had received it.

Republic Act 11506 lapsed into law on 20 December.

It spans 50 years and will end with San Miguel turning over the airport to the government after it enjoys a decade of tax breaks in construction, development, and maintenance.

 

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