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24/7 construction in Sangley Airport begins

June 13, 2019 - Thursday 4:06 PM by Funny Pearl A. Gajunera

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The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said the "24/7" construction of Sangley Airport in Cavite began Thursday to accelerate completion of the project and meet the November deadline set by President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a statement, the DOTr said construction is now 48.68 complete since it started last year.

The asphalt overlay of the runway was finished in February this year, while the Passenger Terminal Building is at 18 percent completion rate, the drainage at 71.6 percent, and the hangars at 37 percent, the DOTr said.

The move to use the Sangley Airport came after President Duterte made a surprise visit to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 past midnight on Monday to personally find out what has been causing numerous flight delays, cancelations, and other disruptions.

Promising to have a remedy within the month, the President later directed Tugade to immediately start the operation of Sangley Airbase for general aviation or domestic flights.

Earlier Thursday, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade met with airline officials "who pledged their full support” for the move, DOTr said.

“It was a productive and mutually beneficial meeting,” Tugade said. "Airlines expressed their willingness and commitment to support the government’s thrust to utilize Sangley Airport. This is a solid demonstration of their trust and confidence in the administration of President Duterte.”

Also discussed n the meeting were positive actions to address passenger discomfort in case of delays. These include the imposition of penalties for flight delays attributed to airlines.

The DOTr said airline companies will sign a Pledge of Commitment and Support on June 24, 2019 as a manifestation of cooperation with the government’s move to address aviation concerns holistically.

Tugade was joined at the meeting by Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General Jim Sydiongco, Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla, Michael Tan of Philippine Airlines, Lance Gokongwei of Cebu Pacific, and Captain Dexter Comendador of AirAsia.

The DOTr said during the meeting, the airlines agreed to use Sangley Airport for general aviation, freight turboprop operations, and commercial turboprop operations as soon as the infrastructure is in place.

"Additionally, general aviation users will be notified to fully relocate in a year’s time to Clark International Airport (CRK) in Pampanga and Sangley Airport to help decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA),” the department said.

General aviation is defined as the operation of civil aircraft other than commercial air transport operation or aerial work operation.

Tugade said the move will free up space in the four terminals of the NAIA to allow for improvements and additions in the main gateway.

The DOTr said Tugade will visit Sangley Airport on Friday (June 14) to inspect the progress of its construction as well as to determine the landing berth for ferry operations between Mall of Asia and Sangley.