Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered his cabinet to implement plans to transfer general aviation and some domestic flights from Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to Sangley Point air base in an effort to ease congestion at the airport.

Following a surprise visit to NAIA June 10, Duterte vowed to find a solution for the overstressed airport within a month. While the Philippine Department of Transportation (DOT) plans to develop Sangley Point into a business aviation airport by December, Duterte said wants operations to start “right away” and gave a November deadline.

The DOT is awaiting the completion of a new terminal building, tower, night flying instruments and a runway extension at Sangley Point, which is currently used by the Philippine Air Force for its turboprop OV-10 Bronco aircraft. 

Flag-carrier Philippines Airlines (PAL), LCC AirAsia Philippines and Cebu Pacific back the move. PAL president and COO Jaime Bautista told the Philippines News Agency he would be meeting with the transportation secretary to find ways to fast-track the move to Sangley.

“We support efforts to improve NAIA and will work with the government to achieve this. Transferring general aviation or private aircraft movements to Sangley will yield immediate positive results for NAIA,” Cebu Pacific told the news agency. The LCC holds the largest market share for domestic traffic.

Chen Chuanren, chuanren@purplelightvisuals.com