THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) said it is moving forward with its plans to develop the Danilo Atienza Air Base in Sangley Point, Cavite amid plans to have the airfield ready for general aviation within the year.
Transportation Undersecretary for Aviation Manuel Antonio L. Tamayo told reporters last week that the department completed in January the restoration of the runway in Sangley, extending it to 2,300 meters. This will allow it to handle flights that normally use runway 13/31 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
“We have a budget of P500 million for the Danilo Atienza Air Base… If you recall, matagal nang hindi name-maintain masyado [it hasn’t been maintained for quite some time]. The runway was shortened to 1,200 meters only. Now, I’m happy to tell you, it is back to 2,300 meters. Tapos na [It’s done],” he said.
“Our target is to complete all of this will be within the year. Within the year it should be operational,” he added.
After finishing the runway, Mr. Tamayo said the department is now moving to build hangars and a passenger terminal building at the airfield. Other works include a new tower and equipment to make night operations possible.
The national government is waiting for the government of Cavite province to firm up its $10-billion proposal to build Sangley airport at the site of the former naval base.
Asked how the DoTr’s current works in Sangley will affect their plans, Cavite 7th district Rep. Jesus Crispin C. Remulla said in a text message on Sunday: “That is a good step for General Aviation. Any takeover proposal will involve the reimbursement of these expenses, since they are capital assets.”
Last month, Mr. Remulla said the Cavite government is looking to raise P200 billion (about $3.8 billion) through a bond issue to finance the Sangley airport proposal. The project involves adding two runways and building a commercial facility at the airport.
Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said he wants the Cavite government to finalize its Sangley airport proposal by mid-2019, noting that he believes in the “value and use of Sangley” and will not allow unsolicited proposals to prevent the government from maximizing its potential.
Mr. Tamayo has earlier said opening Sangley to general aviation will help decongest NAIA as business jets may then be pulled out of Manila and moved to the nearby provincial gateway.