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DOTr, Naia Consortium ready talks on details of airport rehab proposal

/ 05:12 AM February 18, 2019

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is meeting with representatives of the private sector consortium seeking to upgrade and operate Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) in the hope of moving the project forward.

Up for discussions this week are provisions in Naia’s Consortium’s offer that the DOTr deemed to be government guarantees, which the department insisted would not be allowed for unsolicited offers, said Reuben Reinoso, transportation undersecretary for planning.

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“There are certain conditions they need to comply with,” Reinoso said in a recent interview.

“There are provisions appearing to be government guarantees [but Naia Consortium] argued these were not guarantees and it was important for the bankability [of the project]. So we are still negotiating with them,” he added.

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Reinoso did not specify what these guarantees were but in previous interviews, he had said the DOTr was taking a closer look at the proposed terminal fee structure in Naia Consortium’s offer.

Jose Reverente, spokesperson for Naia Consortium, did not elaborate on specific negotiation points in the upcoming talks but he said they were keen on “reaching common ground” with the DOTr.

“We are hopeful that agreeing on many of the terms now will lead to a more expeditious approval process going forward,” Reverente said.

The consortium bagged last August an original proponent status for its P102-billion offer, which entailed the expansion of the Naia’s capacity and various upgrades through a 15-year concession.

Nonetheless, it remains under evaluation by the Manila International Airport Authority. Should an agreement be reached, the proposal will be endorsed to the National Economic and Development Authority and then go through the mandated Swiss challenge.

The Naia proposal is aimed at providing a temporary solution to congestion woes in the country’s main airport while the government decides on alternative air gateways, including San Miguel Corp.’s Bulacan Airport proposal.

Despite delays in the approval process, the expectation is for Naia Consortium to start work on the upgrades by September this year.

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Naia Consortium offers to increase capacity to support 65 million passengers yearly. Hourly takeoff and landing movements under will rise to 52 movements, up by a third.

Naia Consortium also plans to build a “people mover” to link Naia’s passenger terminals.

Naia, the country’s busiest gateway, handles more than 40 million passengers yearly, or more than its design capacity of 31 million passengers a year.

Naia Consortium’s members include Ayala Corp., Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Alliance Global Group Inc., Asia Emerging Dragon, Filinvest Development Corp., JG Summit Holdings Inc. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. Its technical partner is Singapore’s Changi Airports International.

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