Ninoy Aquino International Airport's Terminal 3 may be expanded to cope with increased passenger traffic

Manila to expand airport capacity

The main international gateway to the Philippines is to be expanded to cope with increased passenger traffic.

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAI), which manages and operates the airport, has come up with two options: either to invest $93m (£60m) to build a fifth passenger terminal or to expand Terminal 3 at a cost of $45.2m.

MIAI is currently conducting a feasibility study on the proposed expansion. The study, which started in June, is expected to be completed before the end of the year, but its findings may have no bearing on the decision, as MIAI is keen to have a new terminal built that will increase nominal handling capacity by 10 million to 35 million.

The authority is targeting construction to start in 2014 and finish in 2016. With four terminals in operation the airport is bursting at its seams, handling 31 million passengers last year and operating at the limit for aircraft movements.

The expansion of NAIA is in line with the Philippines government’s plan for a dual-airport system, based on NAIA and Clark International Airport, 50 miles outside Manila, which has room for expansion.

In July a group of business representatives signed a declaration urging the government to push forward the development of Clark in parallel with that of NAIA. The signatories had interests in aviation, logistics, commerce and tourism.

An earlier plan was to expand CIA at a cost of $5bn. When completed and fully operational, all flight operations from NAIA were to be transferred to Clark.  Due to heavy cost and lack of funds, the plan fizzled out almost as soon as it was conceived.

Passenger traffic at NAIA in 2013 is projected to grow 9.7 per cent over 2012 to 34 million.

CIA, which was previously known as Clarkfield, was the former American military base. It was refurbished in 1997, five years after the Americans left, and converted into a civilian airport.

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