Megawide offers to build P250-B Clark airport
Construction and engineering group Megawide and its Indian partner GMR unveiled salient features of their P250-billion unsolicited proposal to develop Clark International Airport as an alternative gateway for the metropolis.
GMR Megawide Corp. is bracing for stiff competition with another powerhouse consortium led by the Gokongweis and Gotianuns—which had also submitted a separate unsolicited proposal to develop Clark Airport.
Whoever gets the original proponent status has the advantage even if the contract would be subjected to a Swiss challenge as the first proponent gets the right to match the best offer.
For its part, the Gotianun-JG Summit consortium vowed to deliver a brand-new world-class Clark International Airport by 2020. The new airport will start with an initial capacity of eight million passengers, up from the existing traffic of one million. The masterplan allows the Clark gateway to expand its terminals and runways to easily accommodate for the traffic growth over the next 50 years. The cost for this proposal was earlier estimated by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) at P187 billion.
In a phone interview yesterday, GMR Megawide president Louie Ferrer said his group’s proposal was bigger in terms of scale and project cost. He estimated the total project cost at $5 billion or about P250 billion.
Through a 50-year masterplan based on the consortium’s independent studies of Clark and its potential as a gateway, GMR Megawide put forward six phases of development that will accommodate as much as 100 million passengers per year upon saturation.
Ferrer said the first phase of development should be able to accommodate five million in air passenger traffic, increasing to 10 million by phase 2, 25 million by phase 3, 50 million by phase 4, 75 million by phase 5 and 100 million by phase 6. The six phases will be developed over a 50-year period.
In a statement, GMR Megawide stated that its proposal would not require any kind of government subsidy, guarantee or mandatory movement of airlines from Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Clark. In fact, Ferrer said the consortium would commit an annual share of airport revenue to the government. “It shifts the responsibility of capital expenditure from the government to us over the entire concession period,” he said.
Ferrer also said the group would deploy the company’s marketing expertise to build traffic in Clark, similar to what was accomplished at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA).
From just seven international destinations in 2014, MCIA now has a total of 16 with the opening of new destinations currently in the works. Domestic destinations experienced a similar growth from 22 to 27 in just two years. Significantly, the number of MCIA’s airline partners has also increased from 11 to a total of 19 by this month.
Ferrer added that route marketing was a unique strength of the consortium. “While local carriers are already present in Clark, we believe its domestic connectivity can still be improved. There is also great potential for operating international circular routes which will include both Mactan-Cebu and Clark.”
With the consortium’s vast experience operating airports in Asia and Europe, it has developed strong relationships with both local carriers and airlines in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. “Not only will we gain easier access to new routes, we will also be able to provide passengers with a wider array of choices and lower fares,” he said.
Both GMR Megawide and JG Summit-Filinvest said that their respective unsolicited proposals had been submitted to the government in July 2016. —DORIS DUMLAO-ABADILLA
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