Due to the seemingly unstoppable congestion at the Ninoy International Airport (NAIA), the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) and several business groups urge the government to take immediate action to resolve air transport problems.
Cited as the one of the biggest hindrances in the country’s economical growth, the Philippines’ air transport remains to be in a poor state due to congestion and institutional environment.
With the country’s allocated budget for infrastructure amounting to 860.7 billion pesos, which is 13.8% higher than last year’s budget, the government considers adding more airports to serve Manila and nearby areas, including a developing airport city complex that could accommodate 100 million passengers a year.
However, the latest study of the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) stressed that the government still has to increase the capacity of the existing Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) before anything else.
According to Transport Under Secretary Roberto Lim, a multi-airport system could include NAIA, an expanded Clark airport in Pampanga that could handle 8 million passengers per year, another 2,500-hectare airport in Bulacan and possibly yet another airport and seaport in the former US naval station in Cavite adjacent to Manila.
In the results of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness report 2016-2017 released last year, the Philippines ranked 5th out of nine ASEAN economies in terms of air connectivity. In addition, the score the country received for the quality of its air transport infrastructure in the WEF report was also the lowest across ASEAN economies.
“The poor state of infrastructure – airports, air traffic management and institutions – has hindered the ability of the country’s hard and soft players to capitalize on growth opportunities and most importantly of consumers to enjoy safe, seamless and secure travel,” economist Maria Cherry Lyn Rodolfo, stated.
“In the case of the Philippines, there is a need to provide greater coherence and convergence among entities undertaking airport development and their implementation.” Rodolfo added.
The policy brief noted that the country’s main international gateway is congested because the demand for the airport’s facilities is greater than the airport’s current capacity.