Philippines Airlines is expecting to carry 20 million passengers by 2021 and is projecting further growth.
“From 15 million passengers in 2017, we project to carry more than 20 million passengers in 2021, from foreign visitors to Filipino families,” said recently PAL President Jaime Bautista to the newspaper Manila Bulletin.
“To achieve this, we will grow our fleet from 87 aircraft today to at least 96 by 2021,” he added.
A major hurdle for the airline however is the increasing congestion of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). The airline is now asking Civil Aviation Authorities to get approval to expand Terminal 2, PAL exclusive facility at Philippines biggest airport.
is is why, PAL is now proposing to put up a US$400-million annex building beside NAIA Terminal 2, a move that is subject to government approval.
“NAIA will remain to operate in many years. It should be there at least for 20 more years,” Bautista admitted in the interview. The airport is however totally congestyed. It has a theorical capacity for 31 million passengers. However, he welcomed last year over 39 million travellers.
PAL wants to build a new 89,000-square meter passenger terminal, which would could cost by about P20 billion (US$400 million), beside its current hub at the NAIA Centennial Terminal 2.
The new terminal could accommodate another 15 million passengers and welcome an additional 17 aircraft parked directly at the extension. The annex will be built on 16 hectares of land where a former hotel used to stand. The future facility will also incorporate a parking lot for 1,000 vehicles, a freight terminal and various facilities.
PAL has been using NAIA Terminal 2 exclusively since 1999 and has so far exceeded its maximum capacity as it was originally built as a domestic airport during the Ramos administration.
“Time is pressing down on us. We respectfully ask for the Government’s urgent consideration and swift approval so that we can begin,” Bautista said at the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) General Assembly Meeting held in Makati last August. The airline hopes to get the green light for the airport for a construction start in 2018.
When asked about PAL’s proposal to build a new terminal within NAIA complex in Manila, Transportation Undersecretary for Aviation and Airports Manuel Antonio Tamayo said “it’s feasible” and that the government is open to it.
The government is also looking to expand Clark International Airport with a new eight-million passengers terminal while two projects for greenfield airports are under consideration in Bulacan and Sangley Point.