THE government should retain ownership of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and invest in upgrading its facilities while a public-private partnership (PPP) project for a new airport is being considered, according to an international aviation think tank.

“The Philippines may ultimately be best to retain ownership of NAIA and invest in upgrades under the current structure, while proceeding with a PPP project,” CAPA Centre for Aviation said in a recent report.

“A privatization can be considered, but the Philippine government should be careful and only proceed with the PPP scheme if it can be ensured that the new owners will make the appropriate investments without significantly raising the costs for airlines or passengers,” it said.

According to CAPA, NAIA is providing passengers with a service level far below its Asian peers and is operating way beyond its designed capacity.

NAIA earlier reported handling 39.5 million passengers in 2016, including 20.6 million domestic and 18.9 million international passengers.

Manila will eventually require a new airport due to NAIA’s space constraints and the lack of room for new runways or terminals, CAPA said. But while a new airport is required, it could take a decade to open one, it said.

For the meantime, the think tank suggested improving the service levels and further increase capacity.

“A single runway system should be adopted and all four terminals expanded,” CAPA said.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) previously proposed Sangley Point in Cavite as the site for a new international gateway and may be NAIA’s third runway.

06 February 2017
By Reicelene Joy Ignacio