Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Group’s plan for a new Manila airport is one stop closer with a final review and a Swiss Challenge set for next year.

San Miguel Corporation’s (SMC) unsolicited proposal for its New Manila International Airport project in Bulacan was given an approval by the Philippine National Economic Development Authority (NEDA). It will still go through a final review from the Philippine Office of the Solicitor General and the Department of Finance, and will be open to a Swiss Challenge.

SMC is aiming to start construction of the P735.6-billion (USD $14 billion) project - which is billed as an alternative and replacement to Manila’s Ninoy Aquino Airport – as early as the first quarter of 2019. Once construction starts, the group expects to complete it in 6 years. Along with the construction, SMC also intends to clean up 12,000 hectares along the coast to promote the fishing industry in the surrounding areas.

“While we’re still going through a long process, hopefully, in 2019, we can hit the ground running on actual construction,” SMC president Ramon S. Ang said in a statement on Thursday.

The new airport is designed to be a new “aerotropolis,” covering 1,168 hectares. It will also come with a 2,500 hectare city complex in Bulacan along Manila Bay. Over 50 years, the airport will have up to six runways with an initial capacity of 100 million passengers – triple the current capacity of Ninoy Aquino Airport.

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