Not content with embarking on an ambitious refleeting programme, Philippine Airlines (PAL) is planning to build an airport, dedicated to serving future aircraft additions.
After announcing this week a multibillion-dollar deal to acquire up to 50 new planes from Airbus (see news), the carrier revealed that infrastructure was also part of its expansion initiatives. Ramon Ang, president of PAL as well as president of PAL’s controlling shareholder San Miguel Corporation, told local media that they intended to seek government approval for “our own terminal and runway”.
While he declined to say where the facility would be located, he divulged that it would have two parallel runways, with the option of having two more, and would be exclusive to PAL and subsidiary PAL Express. It would also be able to handle four times as many flights per hour compared with the notoriously congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia). Manila’s old war horse was built in the 1950s and can only process 36 flights per hour.
Naia’s runways are perpendicular, thus preventing aircraft from taking off and landing simultaneously.
Ang believed that Clark Airport (Diosdado Macapagal International Airport) in Pampanga province, which has, of late, attracted several low-cost carriers such as AirAsia to set up a base there – was not feasible due to the distance from Manila. With the metro's famous gridlocks, departing from financial hub Makati would take two hours to reach Clark, the executive pointed out, then passengers would have to wait another two hours for their flight.
The proposed facility would be located in between Manila and Clark, Ang said, and would be accessed by elevated six-lane highways that would also feature hotels, malls and other facilities
PAL currently exclusively operates from the government-run NAIA Terminal 2 (Centennial Terminal), while Cebu Pacific and other carriers use Terminal 3.
For more about the airline, visit www.philippineairlines.com
Margie T Logarta