DOTr, Naia Consortium seen to complete talks soon
The Department of Transportation revealed new details on its negotiations with a private sector consortium seeking to modernize and operate Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia)—a process it hopes to wrap up in a few weeks.
The DOTr and Naia Consortium, composed of seven conglomerates, are currently in the midst of discussions that would determine the fate of the country’s busiest air gateway.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said during the Asia CEO Forum on Thursday that one of the focus of the negotiations was the “payment” Naia Consortium would make to the government.
It is not unusual for a private concessionaire to pay yearly fees to or share revenue with the government.
Tugade said the Naia was cash-flow positive to the tune of P7 billion a year.
“What I am trying to say is [I can] do my own developments as my own cash flow can support developments,” he said. “So, if you want to develop [Naia], make sure you (pay) the government.”
Another key area in the negotiation is the concession period. Naia Consortium has revised its offer after the DOTr rejected the original proposal providing for a maximum concession period of 35 years.
This was cut down to 15 years, which Tugade said was still subject to further negotiations. Naia Consortium’s revised offer ruled out plans for a new parallel runway on a reclaimed land in Manila Bay.
Even without a new runway, Naia Consortium said it could increase Naia’s capacity to 65 million passengers a year. Moreover, it wants to increase aircraft hourly takeoff and landing movements to 52, higher by about 30 percent than the current levels.
Naia is currently serving over 40 million passengers yearly, above its design capacity of 31 million passengers a year.
Naia Consortium needs to obtain original proponent status for its offer, for which Tugade said the DOTr could decide on in about two weeks.
After this, the project will need to hurdle the Neda approval process. This will culminate in a Swiss challenge that will allow other groups to challenge Naia Consortium’s proposal.
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