Sangley Airport project moves closer to takeoff
The consortium tasked to construct the Sangley Point International Airport on Monday signed with the Cavite provincial government a joint venture and development agreement for the $11-billion Sangley Point International Airport (SPIA), showing its determination to deliver the alternative gateway project seen to decongest Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).
“Good news is that the consortium has submitted the $5-billion performance bond,” Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla told the Inquirer.
Performance bond is also known as a contract bond, which is a financial guarantee to ensure completion of a project.
“It’s a guarantee that they will finish the project. If they fail, then the bond is forfeited to the provincial government,” he explained.
Remulla said that the next step would be “full financial closure,” which refers to securing the funds for the project.
Remulla hopes that the groundbreaking ceremony will be held in a year, to be followed by four years of construction for the first runway and another four years for the second.
The consortium seeks to provide an annual capacity of 25 million passengers initially. It also plans to create a second runway to expand capacity to 75 million passengers per year.
Original proponent status
The Virata-Yuchengco-led consortium—which was granted original proponent status (OPS) in January 2022—bagged the Sangley contract in September last year after completing the 60-day competitive or Swiss challenge about a month earlier. It did not face other competitors during the process, which led to it finally securing the project.
The foreign partners of the SPIA consortium are Munich Airport International Airport GmbH, which is Europe’s only five-star airport, and Samsung C&T Corp., the company that built Terminal 1 of Incheon International Airport and the extension of Changi Airport. It is also joined by Lucio Tan’s MacroAsia Corp. as a nonequity member providing management and technical services for aviation support.
The signing of the JV deal transpired as the Marcos administration plans to privatize the operations and maintenance (O&M) of Naia, which was recently tagged as one of the most stressful airports in the world.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) sealed a transaction advisory service agreement on Feb. 2 to aid in selecting the private sector partner for the O&M of the international gateway.
Under the deal, the ADB will advise DOTr on the modernization and capacity expansion of the country’s main gateway, which has been under scrutiny due to operational inefficiencies. The agreement takes effect from the date of signing until 36 months after or when a partner has been chosen.
Infrawatch PH convener Terry Ridon told the Inquirer that, apart from complying with project timelines, the SPIA project should also focus on convincing airlines to operate their flights via the gateway to serve its purpose as an alternative.
Tycoon Ramon Ang’s New Manila International Airport in Bulacan is currently under development as well.
The Sangley airport is expected to complement the operations of Naia and the future Bulacan airport given the ramping up of air travel demand.
Passenger movement in airports is projected to grow this year due to further easing of border restrictions, including China, which is among the most popular destinations. INQ
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