PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte wants Sangley Airport in Cavite City operational by November 2019 to accommodate general aviation and even domestic flights to decongest air traffic at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) in Pasay City, Malacañang announced Tuesday, June 11.
During the 38th Cabinet meeting on Monday evening, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade informed the President of the Department of Transportation's (DOTr) plan to commence the operation of Sangley airport by December this year, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador said.
Panelo, however, said the President sought to start operations in Sangley in November.
"He (Duterte) wants to fix all these things [concerning Naia]," the Palace official told a press conference.
"Nabanggit ni Secretary Tugade, if I'm not mistaken, in December. Parang gusto ni Presidente, 'Hindi, masyadong, matagal ang December. November na lang,'" he added.
(Secretary Tugade, if I'm not mistaken, mentioned that Sangley airport will be operational in December. But the President wants the start of Sangley airport's operations a month early. He said, "December is too late. Let's do it in November.")
The DOTr has proposed to transfer general aviation flights or domestic flights to Sangley Point by yearend, once the ongoing rehabilitation works in the former military base, Danilo Atienza Air Base, are completed.
Developing the airbase into an airport is seen to ease air congestion at the country's main gateway.
Tugade, in his presentation during the 38th Cabinet meeting, said ferries can operate from Mall of Asia in Pasay City to Sangley within "18 to 24 minutes."
Sangley Airport Infrastructure Group Inc., a consortium led by Solar Group's All-Asia Resources and Reclamation Inc., submitted in March 2018 a $12-billion unsolicited proposal to finance, construct, and develop a new airport in Sangley, Cavite that will be called "Philippine Sangley International Airport."
The latest development came after Duterte expressed dismay over flight delays and cancellations at Naia on Sunday, June 9.
"Definitely, it's a sign of displeasure," Panelo said. (SunStar Philippines)