MANILA, Philippines—The government has finally sealed a P1.9 billion deal with contractor Takenaka Corp. of Japan to bring the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s Terminal 3 to full operational status next year but the rehabilitation itself could take longer than initially expected.
In a statement on Saturday, the Department of Transportation and Communications said it had “reached an agreement” with Takenaka with an eye toward having Terminal 3 fully operational by August 2014.
This was pushed back from the original plan to complete the project by the first quarter of 2014.
“We just put a little buffer for contingency,” Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Abaya said in a text message.
Under the terms of the agreement, Takenaka will complete the work within 12 months, DOTC said. This will include baggage handling, flight information displays, computer terminals, gate coordination, and fire protection systems.
Terminal 3 is currently operating at half its annual capacity of 13 million passengers due to certain structural issues at the airport. These issues, which Takenaka would address, have hindered the full utilization of the facility.
“The full operation of Terminal 3 will allow a faster and more pleasant experience for passengers flying in and out of Manila,” DOTC said in the statement.
Terminal 3 is the newest facility at the country’s busiest airport. The NAIA terminals are the main gateway to Metro Manila and are projected to serve a total of 34 million passengers this year, the Manila International Airport Authority said last month.
Terminal 3 opened in 2008 after being mothballed for six years.
It failed to open in 2002 after the Philippine government under President Arroyo alleged the contract with Philippine International Airport Terminal Co. (Piatco), the consortium that won the right to build the airport terminal under the Ramos administration, was riddled with irregularities.
Takenaka was hired by Piatco as subcontractor for Terminal 3.
Further delays in the rehabilitation of Terminal 3 were caused by years of litigation between the Philippine government and Piatco and the latter’s German shareholder, Fraport AG.
Fraport still has a pending arbitration case against the Philippine government at the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes in Washington D.C.
The Court of Appeals last week ordered the Philippine government to pay Piatco about P16 billion for the expropriation of the terminal.
A DOTC spokesperson declined to comment Saturday, saying the department had not yet received a copy of the order.