The government is open to accepting the proposal of seven of the country’s largest conglomerates to redevelop and rehabilitate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the country’s chief economist said.
“Yes, [we’re] open to the consortium of conglomerates for the Naia improvement project,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority chief Ernesto M. Pernia said in a text message Friday.
Last week, it was reported that a “superconsortium” comprised of Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc., Andrew Tan’s Alliance Globe Group Inc., Ayala Corp., Gotianun-led Filinvest Development Corp., Gokongwei-led JG Summit Holdings Inc., Lucio Tan’s LT Group and Manuel V. Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp. will join forces to submit an unsolicited proposal to rehabilitate the country’s main gateway.
JG Summit and LT Group own the country’s two biggest commercial air carriers—Cebu Pacific Air and Philippine Airlines, respectively.
The Naia is suffering from worsening congestion as its four passenger terminals serve 40-percent more than its designed capacity.
The government earlier announced that under its ambitious “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, improvement of the Naia would be a priority alongside the development of the Clark International Airport as the second major airport by 2020. However, it has not announced any firm decision on what it plans to do about Naia—whether to keep it as the main air gateway or let the private sector build a new international airport elsewhere and downgrade Naia to a secondary airport.
There are existing unsolicited private sector proposals to build new airports. As for San Miguel Corp.’s proposal to build a new international airport in Bulacan province, Pernia said “more information is needed for technical evaluation.”
SMC’s unsolicited proposal, which was earlier awarded an original proponent status, is currently being evaluated by the Investment Coordination Committee of the state planning agency Neda.
The P700-billion new international “aerotropolis” being pitched by SMC to the Department of Transportation would involve a massive airport spanning 1,168 hectares as well as city complex to be built on a 2,500-hectare location along Manila Bay in Bulakan town.
The proposed airport project would have six parallel runways and an initial capacity of 100 million passenger or over three times that of Naia.
It was proposed under a build-operate-transfer scheme, with SMC to operate the airport under a 50-year concession. As part of the proposal, SMC will build an expressway that would link its airport to the North Luzon Expressway in Marilao, Bulacan.
SMC plans to complete the project within six years from approval.