Virata-Yuchengco group’s Sangley airport offer OKayed
The Cavite government has accepted an offer from a Virata and Yuchengco-led consortium to build a new international airport in Sangley Point in Manila Bay, paving the way for final negotiations and a competitive bidding process.
In a statement on Monday, the SPIA Development Consortium said it had been granted an original proponent status (OPS) for the massive gateway, which will be completed in several phases at an estimated project cost of nearly $11 billion.
An OPS is a critical step for unsolicited projects governed by the Build Operate Transfer law. The holder of an OPS is also allowed to match counter offers in the mandated 60-day competitive or Swiss challenge process.
Cavite Gov. Juanito Victor “Jonvic” Remulla formally issued the certificate of acceptance on Jan. 7.
In the same statement, he said the move was “a clear sign of the province’s commitment to deliver this nationally significant and legacy project to the Filipino people.”
The lead investors were the Yuchengco Group, one of the country’s largest conglomerates with interests spanning infrastructure, banking, insurance, and automotive services, and the Virata family’s Cavitex Holdings Inc., which developed the Cavite Expressway project.
The toll road project was eventually acquired by Manuel V. Pangilinan-led infrastructure giant Metro Pacific Investments Corp.
Moreover, taipan Lucio Tan’s MacroAsia Corp. will be a non-equity member of the consortium providing management and technical services for aviation support.
The SPIA consortium’s foreign partners are Munich Airport International GmbH, the management services arm of Munich Airport, and Samsung C&T Corp., which built Terminal 1 of South Korea’s Incheon International Airport and the extension of the Changi International Airport in Singapore. Also joining is London-based design firm Arup Group.
“The long-delayed Sangley Airport project is envisioned as a fully modernized, world-class and green airport that is designed to meet an anticipated increase in demand for air transport in the next 30 to 40 years,” the consortium said in the statement.
It added the Sangley Airport was crucial as operations at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) “are eventually phased out to allow for the development of the site and its surrounding areas.”
The consortium’s proposal covers the phases 1A and 1B, which will provide capacity for a total of 25 million passengers annually at an estimated project cost of $4.3 billion.
There are also plans to build a second runway and expand capacity to 75 million passengers per year at an additional cost of $6.6 billion.
The consortium is one of two groups vying to establish an international airport to replace Naia, the country’s main gateway.
Conglomerate San Miguel Corp. earlier announced it was building a $14-billion airport city in nearby Bulacan province.
The SPIA consortium said it would also build a 4.6-kilometer connector road from the Kawit Interchange of Cavitex that would lead to Sangley “with the time of completion estimated at two years.”
A previous attempt to build an international air hub in Sangley fell through.
On Jan. 26 last year, Remulla cancelled the Feb. 12, 2020 award to the venture of state-run China Communications Construction Co. Ltd. and MacroAsia after the companies failed to comply with the Cavite government’s requirements.
On Oct. 20, it declared another failed bidding after no offers appeared by the deadline.
The Inquirer previously reported the initial venture was weighed down by national security and economic concerns as critics feared it would turn into a debt trap where China gains strategic concessions from borrowers that defaulted on their loans. INQ
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