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SMC, Lucio Tan in talks for $6-billion airport

Published on 29 September 2012 [ tribune.net.ph ]
Written by ROSALIE C. PERIABRAS REPORTER

APhilippine Airlines (PAL) official said that the $6-billion airport project that the company’s proposing to MalacaƱang is between the two large business groups.

Ramon Ang, president and chief operating officer of PAL, said that the airline’s plan to create a new international airport in Manila would be financed by San Miguel Corp. (SMC) and Lucio Tan. SMC and Tan are the major shareholders of PAL.

“Airport project is between two shareholders, it’s between the SMC and Mr. Tan’s family,” said Ang.

Earlier, he said that they will propose the construction of the new airport to President Benigno Aquino 3rd by January or February next year. Ang also said that the new airport would have four parallel runways so that aircraft could fly simultaneously. It would also span 2,000 hectares, which will also house a shopping mall, restaurants and other major establishments.

There were earlier reports that the proposed airport will be located in the north, but Ang said otherwise. He said that the proposed of new airport is 15 minutes away from the Edsa-Makati area.

During this year’s summer, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport suffered from delayed and canceled flights from the congestion of airlines flying in and out of Manila. The government has since ordered a reduction in traffic at the premier airport as a stop-gap measure.

The Aquino administration has pursued a policy of shifting traffic away from Manila and toward other growth centers such as Clark in Pampanga province.

The proposed airport project is also a reinforcement to the airline’s $7-billion deal to buy 54 planes, which will start delivery in 2013. Ang had said that the airline will buy a total of 100 planes to strengthen its regional flights.?

Furthermore, International Airport Transport, director general and chief executive officer, Tony Tyler, recently raised to President Aquino the issues of air transport industry in the country.

Tyler said that the Philippines is missing out on great economic opportunities that could be facilitated by air transport. He added that the country also has a bad reputation for safety, inadequate airport capacity and high taxation.

He added that there is a lack of confidence in the safety oversight capabilities of the Philippines.
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