Taipan Henry Sy Sr. and businessman Wilson Tieng submitted a proposal to build a $12-billion (about P623 billion) international air gateway in Sangley, Cavite, as the Duterte administration called on business groups to support its multi-airport strategy for Metro Manila.
The unsolicited offer, which would undergo a competitive bidding process if accepted and approved by the government, is the latest proposal to emerge amid a private sector-led rush to upgrade inadequate air infrastructure in the country.
In recent weeks, offers have been made to improve and operate Manila’s main gateway, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, which suffers from worsening congestion.
The government is separately reviewing San Miguel Corp.’s Bulacan International Airport proposal while itself expanding the Clark International Airport in Pampanga province.
For Sangley, the Sy and Tieng families formed a consortium called Sangley Airport Infrastructure Group Inc., a statement issued on Friday showed.
It is comprised of Tieng’s All-Asia Resources and Reclamation Corp. and the Sy family’s Belle Corp., which has exposure in the country’s gaming sector in the Entertainment City complex along Manila Bay.
The offer called for the development of the Philippine Sangley International Airport at “no cost to the government.” The consortium is asking for a 50-year concession to build a regional hub with two parallel independent runways and enough terminal capacity to serve as many as 120 million passengers annually.
Sangley Airport Infrastructure Group said a major component would be the reclamation of 2,500 hectares of land “north of the Sangley peninsula.” The project also considered the development of airside and landside facilities as well as transportation infrastructure to service the passengers and ensure accessibility to Sangley Airport.
“The new airport hub is also envisioned to compete with other premier Southeast Asia airports like the ones in Bangkok, Seoul, Hong Kong and Singapore,” the consortium said in the statement.
The Sy-Tieng venture was formed in 2016 and there were early disagreements with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) over the submission of an earlier version of its proposal.
Belle vice chair Willy Ocier said in a text message that the current proposal was their “first submission accepted by the DOTr.” Transportation Undersecretary for Aviation Manuel Antonio L. Tamayo said he has yet to see the offer as of press time.
Sangley Airport Infrastructure Group could be in competition with another airport proposal in Sangley led by the Remulla clan, which is at the helm of Cavite’s local government. The Remulla offer was disclosed by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade last month.
Sangley Airport Infrastructure Group said its offer also included the development of Sangley’s Danilo Atienza Air Base, where the DOTr wanted to locate general aviation services.
The consortium wants to transform the airbase into an “aerotropolis” district with service buildings, office towers, hotels and conference centers.
Sangley was identified by the Japan International Cooperation Agency as the best site for a new international airport during the previous administration. The government’s parameters at that time called for a new gateway about 20 minutes away from Metro Manila.
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