The Philippine Department of Transportation announced that the three major airlines of the Philippines – Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia – have agreed to shift some of their Manila-area operations to the Sangley Airfield. In preparation for the shift, the Philippine government is speeding up the development of the airfield for its opening by the end of the year.
Following a meeting with the carriers, the announced plan would call for the shift of flights using turboprop aircraft (both passenger and cargo), as well as general aviation traffic to Sangley in Cavite. The plan follows Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to transfer the general aviation and some domestic flights to Sangley.
For general aviation users – covering non-commercial flights including private jets and training aircraft – will have one year to relocate to either Sangley or the Clark International Airport in Pampanga.
“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.
With Manila’s Ninoy Aquino Airport handling over 45 million passengers in 2018 – over its designed capacity of 30 million – 24/7 work is ongoing to get the Sangley Airfield ready for commercial operations by December. Located around 12 kilometers southwest of Manila, the airfield is currently used by the Philippine Air Force and will see the addition of its passenger terminal and hangars. The runway has a length of just over 2300 meters.
Since Sangley is in close proximity to Manila, it has been one of two suggested sites for proposed air hubs for the city. The idea of shifting some flights – especially turboprop aircraft – was first mentioned in January when Philippine Airlines president Jaime Bautista suggested the move. Since then, the idea has evolved to speed up the work to develop Sangley Airfield as “Manila’s Third Runway.”