PAL dusts off NAIA 2 dev’t pitch

Business World - - FRONT PAGE - Pa­trizia Paola C. Marcelo

PHILIP­PINE AIR­LINES (PAL) has re­vived its pro­posal to build a P20-bil­lion ($400-mil­lion) an­nex to the Ni­noy Aquino In­ter­na­tional Air­port (NAIA) Ter­mi­nal 2 to ad­dress con­ges­tion.

“We pro­pose to con­struct a Ter­mi­nal 2 an­nex, es­sen­tially a whole new ter­mi­nal con­nected to the cur­rent Ter­mi­nal 2,” PAL President Jaime J. Bautista said yes­ter­day in his speech at the Man­age­ment As­so­ci­a­tion of the Philip­pines (MAP) Gen­eral Mem­ber­ship Meet­ing.

Mr. Bautista told re­porters that PAL sub­mit­ted the con­cept in 2015 to the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment of for­mer president Benigno S.C. Aquino III and re­it­er­ated the pro­posal last May.

Mr. Bautista cited the lim­ited space and con­di­tions in Ter­mi­nal 2, such as lack of park­ing space and de­fi­cien­cies in ameni­ties, as the rea­son for PAL’s pro­posal.

“Philip­pine Air­lines op­er­ates most of our flights at Ter­mi­nal 2, which is squeezed into a cramped area around the main con­trol tower,” Mr. Bautista said.

PAL has said it has been help­ing in de­con­gest­ing NAIA by op­er­at­ing more flights from ar­eas out­side Metro Manila, par­tic­u­larly Cebu, Clark, Davao, Puerto Princesa, Cat­i­clan and Kal­ibo.

Mr. Bautista also cited the lim­ited ca­pac­ity of the four NAIA ter­mi­nals, which serve 42 mil­lion pas­sen­gers an­nu­ally ver­sus its ac­tual ca­pac­ity of 30 mil­lion.

“This ini­tia­tive is aligned with the gov­ern­ment’s ef­fort to spend P10 bil­lion to mod­ern­ize the re­gional air­ports,” Mr. Bautista said.

Cur­rent PAL ef­forts to mod­ern­ize NAIA 2, he said, in­clude putting up travel kiosks and more

swing gates, as well as up­grad­ing of the in­ter­na­tional trans­fer and in­ter-ter­mi­nal wait­ing lounges.

Mr. Bautista, how­ever, de­scribed these ef­forts as band-aid so­lu­tions, say­ing: “PAL be­lieves that we need to break free of the con­fines of the build­ing and ex­pand ter­mi­nal 2 to the north.”

“The ul­ti­mate so­lu­tion is think big and build our de­sired new Ter­mi­nal 2 an­nex.”

The fa­cil­ity will rise on a 16-hectare area ad­ja­cent to Ter­mi­nal 2, which will in­clude the now- de­funct Philip­pine Vil­lage Ho­tel, the for­mer Nay­ong Pilipino com­plex and a prop­erty owned by the Philip­pine Amuse­ment and Gam­ing Corp.

The planned an­nex is de­signed to han­dle 12-15 mil­lion pas­sen­gers per year and would be able to serve 12 to 17 wide- bod­ied and sin­gle-aisle jets. It will also in­clude multi- level park­ing for 1,000 ve­hi­cles, a new cargo ter­mi­nal and ground ser­vice fa­cil­i­ties.

Mr. Bautista said that once the project is ap­proved by the gov­ern­ment, the ground­break­ing is tar­geted for Fe­bru­ary 2018, com­ple­tion of con­struc­tion by De­cem­ber 2020 and start of op­er­a­tions in July 2021. The new fa­cil­ity will then be used for in­ter­na­tional flights and Ter­mi­nal 2 will be used for do­mes­tic flights.

Mr. Bautista added that the project can gen­er­ate 3,000 jobs, in­clud­ing man­agers and ramp ser­vice crew.

“… [w]e can­not deny the im­mense state of NAIA’s in­fra­struc­ture chal­lenge… It is re­ally ham­per­ing our abil­ity to grow.”

PAL plans to ex­pand its fleet of 87 air­craft to 96 by 2021. Eigh­teen old air­craft will be phased out and 27 new air­craft will be ac­quired, tar­geted for use for long- haul flights such as fights to New York, San Fran­cisco, and Lon­don.

PAL said ear­lier this month that it posted a P1.66-bil­lion net loss last se­mes­ter, a re­ver­sal from its year-ago P4.61-bil­lion net in­come, on the back of big­ger ex­penses pri­mar­ily due to in­creased flights and main­te­nance cost.

Shares of listed par­ent PAL Hold­ings, Inc. edged up 0.19% to end P5.20 each yes­ter­day, against the 0.99% rise of the ser­vices sub in­dex to which they be­long. —

PAL HOLD­INGS, INC. President and Chief Op­er­at­ing Of­fi­cer Jaime J. Bautista is seen in a press con­fer­ence in Pasay City in this Jan. 22, 2015 file pho­to­graph.

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