Suburban Manila airport to open next month, a move to ease congestion at main terminal complex

31, Oct. 2019

An ATR 72-500 cargo plane operated by CebGo is landing at Sangley Airport in Cavite Province during a dry run on Oct. 29, 2019.
An ATR 72-500 cargo plane operated by CebGo is landing at Sangley Airport in Cavite Province during a dry run on Oct. 29, 2019.

MANILA, NNA – Metro Manila’s second airport, located on a former U. S. naval base in the suburban province of Cavite, will open next month for air cargo and general aviation in a bid to ease traffic at the country’s busiest gateway Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

The bayside Sangley Airport will allow turboprop cargo flights and private planes, a core part of general aviation, Philippine Transportation secretary Arthur Tugade told a news briefing Tuesday during the seven-day dry run at the facility. Cargo and general aviation would normally compete for space at the Ninoy Aquino airport.

A $10 billion redevelopment will expand Sangley to four runways between 2026 and 2028, the provincial governor said. The provincial governor says the airport will be able to handle 100 million passengers annually after redevelopment.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ordered in June the transfer of some domestic flights from Ninoy Aquino to the Cavite site, which is now the Danilo Atienza Airbase. The Sangley Airport is one of the central government’s key infrastructure projects.

Passenger traffic at the four-terminal complex inside Metro Manila grew from 36.5 million passengers in 2016 to 45 million in 2018, a rise of 23.1 percent, Department of Transportation data show. Traffic increased by more than 14,000 flights, or 5.8 percent, over those two years, the data show.

The air cargo arm of Cebu Pacific Air, a Philippine-based budget airline, has agreed to use Sangley. The airport will become a hub for the carrier’s two turboprop cargo aircraft, said Alex Reyes, president of Cebu Pacific subsidiary CebGo, Inc.

“Our commitment with the government and our customers is that we will operate both cargo freighters here in Sangley,” Reyes told a media briefing after the dry run.

CebGo will fly general and agribusiness cargo from Sangley to the Visayan islands of the central Philippines and to Mindanao in the south.

The provincial government of Cavite is looking for a private-sector partner to jointly develop and expand the airport into an international gateway. Today the airport cannot accommodate the bigger aircraft used for passenger flights because of runway obstacles, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines Director General Jim Sydiongco told the media briefing.