Megawide says Naia should remain main PH gateway
Megawide Construction Corp. chair and CEO Edgar Saavedra urged other proponents to pursue the rehabilitation of Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) after his company’s proposal was turned down by the government for reasons that remain unclear.
Speaking during a virtual business forum on Wednesday, Saavedra said Naia was an established and convenient gateway that is recognized by domestic and international travelers.
Moreover, he said banks were ready to finance the massive undertaking because of its viability and positive impact on the economy.
“We think Naia should be rehabilitated whoever should be the proponent,” Saavedra said during a forum organized by the Management Association of the Philippines.
Megawide teamed up with GMR Infrastructure, a leading global airport operator, to rehabilitate Naia and expand passenger capacity and flights via a P109-billion unsolicited offer with a 25-year concession.
Megawide-GMR is the same venture that expanded and now operates the Mactan Cebu International Airport.
Its primary rights to Naia, however, were revoked by the board of the Manila International Airport Authority (Miaa) last Dec. 15. Inquirer sources said the decision was affirmed during a Miaa board meeting last Jan.14.
Saavedra said during the MAP forum they had received no formal communication from the Miaa board thus far.
Naia’s role as the main gateway to Metro Manila is under threat without any major rehabilitation.
San Miguel Corp. (SMC) president Ramon S. Ang said the airport was better off being closed after his P735-billion airport city in Bulacan province, northwest of Manila, is finished in about five years.
Before Megawide-GMR, the Naia Consortium comprised of seven of the country’s tycoons proposed to rehabilitate Naia. Those talks failed after two years of negotiations.