Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan’s Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) is forming a joint venture with a foreign partner to make a strong bid for the Mactan-Cebu international airport project, one of the biggest infrastructure contracts being bid out by the Aquino administration this year.
Speaking late Tuesday, Pangilinan said the company was in talks with a potential partner with experience in airport projects in Asia and other parts of the world.
“We have to look for foreign partners because there aren’t any local airport operators,” Pangilinan said.
He said that having a partner experienced in airports was a requirement set by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), the agency handling the contract. The foreign partner will also be vital for MPIC, which only has experience operating toll roads.
“We need to have the right partner that will qualify with respect to our bid,” Pangilinan said.
The existing Mactan-Cebu International Airport is the country’s second-biggest air passenger facility with an annual capacity of 4.5 million passengers. However, the passenger traffic for year 2011 already hit 6.2 million passengers.
Passenger numbers grew at the facility at a compounded annual rate of 14.47 percent for domestic traffic and 11.02 percent for international traffic over the last five years.
According to the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Center, “the deterioration in the level of convenience and lack of ability to handle more passengers may hinder further development and growth of the airport.”
Apart from the construction of a new passenger terminal, the project also involves operating and maintaining all old and new parts of the facility, the renovation of the existing building and the installation of new computer systems to comply with international standards.
Also expected to bid for the project is a joint-venture between conglomerates’ Ayala Corp. and Aboitiz Equity Ventures.