San Miguel to Start Building New International Airport in Bulacan This Year

The new airport may eventually replace the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
IMAGE San Miguel Corporation

The Philippines is a step closer to getting a new and bigger airport, one that might even eventually replace the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila.

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) President Ramon Ang said in a news release on December 27 that the construction of the proposed P735.6-billion Bulacan International Airport will break ground this year. “While we’re still going through a long process, hopefully, in 2019, we can hit the ground running on actual construction,” he said.

This comes after the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) approved the negotiation results of the concession agreement (CA) for the project between the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and San Miguel Holdings Corporation (SMHC) on December 24. SMHC is the infrastructure arm of the diversified conglomerate SMC.

However, before the project officially breaks ground, NEDA noted that the revised CA will have to go through a final review by the Office of the Solicitor-General and the Department of Finance before it is endorsed to other parties for a Swiss Challenge.


The Bulacan International Airport is an unsolicited public-private partnership (PPP) proposal from the SMHC to construct, operate, and maintain the airport on a 2,500-hectare land in Bulakan, Bulacan.

SMHC, as the original proponent, will solely shoulder the total project cost of P735.63 billion through an unsolicited build-operate-transfer arrangement. This means the project will not require any government guarantee or any form of subsidy.

“These are substantial features, proving the project is adequately advantageous to the government,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia in a statement on December 24. “They certainly raise the bar on unsolicited PPP projects.”

In an e-mail sent to reporters back in September 2018, SMC maintained that the company’s track record, “strong balance sheet, consistent profitability, and sustained growth and liquidity” will make the “world-class” airport in Bulacan possible. Ang added that parent company SMC is fully backing SMHC in terms of financial capability.

“The project, estimated at $15 billion, will be undertaken over a period of five to seven years to full completion. On average, spending spread is about P100 billion, which is at the level of the company’s cash from operating activities, on a simple annualized basis,” the company added.

The Bulacan International Airport will have four parallel runways (expandable to six), and will be equipped with modern and world-class facilities. It is expected to accommodate 100 million passengers a year—a huge improvement compared to NAIA’s current capacity of just about 31 million passengers annually.

“It will create some one million jobs once construction starts, and by the time it’s completed, millions more of new tourism jobs will be created,” Ang said in the September statement. “Travel will be much easier and more comfortable for our air passengers, for overseas Filipino workers, and foreign tourists. Access will also be very easy with multiple expressways that will bring the airport within 30 minutes or shorter from anywhere in Metro Manila,” he added.

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Pauline Macaraeg
Esquire Philippines
Pauline is Esquire Philippines’ data journalist. Follow her on Twitter @paulinemacaraeg.
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