Manila’s NAIA Airport Expansion plans progressing

Manila’s NAIA airport is one of the most congested in Asia. It’s operating well beyond its design capacity of 30 million passengers, having served 45 million passengers in 2018! This is showing in crowded terminals and never-ending delays. Proposals for expansion have been discussed for years and it looks like there is finally some progress!

A consortium of some of the largest companies in the families has proposed a $2 billion rehabilitation and expansion of the airport, adding a second runway and additional terminal space to increase the airport capacity to 47 million over the next two years (just enough to serve current traffic) and to 65 million in 4 years. Based on previous reports, this would likely include expansion to the existing terminals 2 & 3, both overcrowded today.

The Department of Transportation has now moved this proposal to the next step and hopefully it doesn’t keep stalling. According to local laws, the plan would be a “Swiss Challenge” allowing other providers to make competing proposals before a decision is made. The original plan was to start this project in 2019, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. 

This project is long overdue and has been stuck in the morass of local politics for years, resulting in the challenges all travelers through Manila face today. It’s good to finally see some progress and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for some progress. Given the fast economic growth of the Philippines and the population and travel needs in Manila, this is likely to be only a bandaid. Several competing proposals for a new airport in the Manila Metro are also under consideration and need to be approved soon – or Manila will have congested air transportation for years to come!

Find the local news here.
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