Biz Buzz: PAL airport at CyberBay By the staff
Philippine Daily Inquirer 2:08 am | Monday, September 17th, 2012
Flag carrier Philippine Airlines, now under the management control of diversifying San Miguel Corp., plans to build what could be the country’s biggest and most modern international airport and everyone (especially those who envy the airports they see in other countries) is speculating as to the location of the new gateway.
There is talk that the proposed airport will be somewhere north of Metro Manila, which is very unlikely because (1) SMC’s critical mass of toll roads that can potentially benefit from airport proximity is south of Metro Manila while the north is the bailiwick of the frenemy and (2) if Manila will be Asia’s next gaming hub with the development of Pagcor’s Entertainment City, SMC/PAL will naturally want to put its chip somewhere closer to the location of the tourism epicenter.
Ergo, the most logical location for a prospective PAL/SMC airport is the CyberBay waterfront reclamation project. CyberBay Corp., after all, is chaired by Ramon S. Ang (a.k.a. RSA), who is also the chief executive and now the single biggest stockholder of SMC. The CyberBay project is along the Manila-Cavite Coastal Road, covering the cities of Parañaque and Las Piñas and the municipality of Bacoor, Cavite, but was shelved earlier due to legal complications.
The project was originally envisioned to be a 750-hectare township development but the Supreme Court, in 2002, nullified a joint venture between the state-owned Philippine Estates Authority and Amari Coastal Bay Development Corp., formerly controlled by Ital-Thai consortium. Meanwhile, RSA bought into CyberBay as a personal investment in recent years, even if the remaining assets in its books consisted only of claims against PEA (now the Philippine Reclamation Authority) worth about P11.53 billion as of end-2010 (the reimbursement was for the relocation of informal settlers in the area and funds injected to run the operations of Central Bay from 1995 to 2002). RSA must have seen something else in CyberBay—such as a prospective reincarnation into the country’s main international gateway.
We heard that SMC has indeed been conducting feasibility studies to convert the CyberBay reclamation project into a prospective major airport. From this group’s point of view, it has become very urgent given PAL’s issue with a bird sanctuary beside the existing Naia airport. Our sources said that this might be submitted as an unsolicited proposal to the government next year.—Doris C. Dumlao