Bulacan airport construction seen to start in September
San Miguel Corp. (SMC) is readying construction teams for its proposed international air gateway in Bulacan province—the conglomerate’s answer to worsening congestion in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) in Manila.
SMC president Ramon S. Ang said the company was prepared to start its P735.6-billion aerotropolis in Bulakan, Bulacan province, roughly 50 kilometers northwest of Manila, once the government gives the go-ahead.
“We will award contracts to our various contractors in September,” Ang told the Inquirer.
The airport project, which will cover about 2,500 hectares, is in the midst of a competitive bidding process. No challengers have emerged since the tender was launched by the Department of Transportation last April. It was earlier decided that the winner will be the company that can offer the government with the most land, a huge cost barrier for many interested groups.
SMC is on track to win the project by early August if rivals fail to show up by the deadline on July 31 this year.
SMC calls its project the New Manila International Airport.
The first phase will consist of two parallel runways and a capacity of 35 million passengers a year. This could be built within three to four years, SMC said. Eventually, it is expected to have multiple parallel runways and a capacity of more than 100 million passengers annually. SMC will operate and develop the project through a 50-year concession period.
Giovanni Lopez, chair of the DOTr’s bids and awards committee (BAC), said they would issue a resolution recommending an award to SMC if there are no challengers by the July deadline.
The DOTr will then issue an award notice within the next three days, said Lopez, also DOTr assistant secretary for procurement. He said the “instruction and directive” from the top was to start the project within 2019.
SMC, a food and drinks conglomerate that successfully diversified into energy and infrastructure, has long been keen on the aviation sector.
It currently operates Boracay Airport and was a part owner of Philippine Airlines from 2012 to 2014. During the Aquino administration, it proposed a similar airport complex along Manila Bay near the cities of Parañaque and Las Piñas, but that plan did not prosper.
The Duterte administration is currently evaluating a 15-year offer by the private-sector Naia Consortium to upgrade and operate Naia while it expands Clark International Airport, about 100 kilometers north of the capital district.
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