Seven groups, including large Chinese companies, have submitted offers to design and build a passenger terminal that would triple existing capacity in Clark International Airport, which is being positioned as an alternative to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
Clark International Airport, formerly known as the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport, is located in Pampanga while NAIA – also known as Manila Airport – is the main international gateway to the Philippines.
The Duterte administration is targeting to finish the new passenger terminal, which would bring Clark Airport’s existing capacity of four million passengers annually to 12 million passengers, by 2020.
The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), which is handling the Clark expansion project, checked on Tuesday the eligibility of bidders keen on the project’s design, engineering, and construction contract, valued at P12.55 billion.
With the expansion, the government hopes to lure more travellers to Clark Airport, helping ease congestion that is currently plaguing NAIA.
Among those that submitted on Tuesday was the team of Megawide Construction Corp. and GMR Infrastructure (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. The tandem already operates the Mactan Cebu International Airport.
The six other groups were China State Construction Engineering Corp. Ltd., China Harbour Engineering Co. Ltd., Sinohydro Corp. Limited, DDT Konstract, Inc., R-II Builders, Inc., and Tokwing Construction Corp.
Joshua Bingcang, chair of the BCDA special bids and awards committee, said he was satisfied with the turnout, noting that more than half of the 12 groups that bought bid documents submitted offers.
“This is a relatively high number for us,” he told reporters at the sidelines of the event.
Tuesday’s exercise was meant to determine which groups are qualified to build the Clark Airport. Technical and financial bids of qualified groups would later be evaluated by the BCDA on December 7 and December 14, respectively.
The contract is slated to be awarded on December 15, and a groundbreaking ceremony is being targeted on December 20, 2017.
The expansion of Clark International Airport is among the first hybrid public-private partnership deals that were rolled out under the Duterte administration.
Under this scheme, the government will finance the construction of the terminal while the private sector will later be invited for the operations and maintenance component.
Bingcang said they were eyeing the operations and maintenance component to be awarded on March 2018.
Successive administrations have struggled to increase usage at Clark. As noted, it has a capacity of four million passengers annually but serves about a quarter of that figure.
Its critics point to its 100-kilometer distance away from Manila.
To help address this, the Duterte administration said it would pursue a 106-kilometer train line that would link Manila and Clark by 2022. The train project, to be funded by loans from the Japanese government, would cost over P300 billion. /kga