DOTr wants private firm to take over Naia operations
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) have proposed that the government take in a private sector partner to maintain and operate Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), the country’s busiest and the main gateway to the rest of the world.
This is according to the recently completed feasibility study for the Naia rehabilitation program that had been submitted for approval to the National Economic and Development Authority.
In the proposal, the private partner will maintain and operate the international gateway for 15 years to recoup investments related to the facility upgrades.
The private concessionaire, the DOTr said, should “ensure that there is sufficient capacity to meet growing demand in the Greater Capital Region while new airports elsewhere in the region are still at various stages of development and planning.”
The Naia rehabilitation project seeks to increase the passenger capacity at the congested airport and to improve the experience of travelers through shorter waiting and processing times, modern facilities, and better connectivity between terminals.
“To achieve these, the government will require a private concessionaire to invest in modern air traffic control equipment, rehabilitate runways and taxiways, and improve existing terminal facilities,” the DOTr said.
The proposal came after the signing of a transaction advisory service agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in February to facilitate the selection of potential partners for the Naia upgrade project.
DOTr and MIAA, however, did not provide an estimate of how much the upgrades will cost.
DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista earlier said they were eyeing to release the terms of reference this month.
“With this project, it is our goal that travelers to and from Manila, our country’s main international gateway, also benefit from the improvements in efficiency and service that world-class airport operators and investors can bring,” he said.
Ahead of DOTr’s submission, the Manila International Airport Consortium lodged an unsolicited proposal to upgrade the international gateway. It seeks to double Naia’s passenger capacity to 62.5 million a year by 2028 from 31 million currently.
The consortium comprises Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc., AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp., Alliance Global – Infracorp Development Inc., Filinvest Development Corp., JG Summit Infrastructure Holdings Corp., and Global Infrastructure Partners.
Bautista previously said they were reviewing the bid, with ADB also providing assistance in making recommendations.
The push to rehabilitate Naia comes amid complaints over the airport’s operational inefficiencies. Just last May 1, the international gateway’s Terminal 3 experienced a power outage for a few hours, affecting several flights and passengers.