After serving the air transportation needs of Manila in some capacity since 1948, it is plain that the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is in great need of an overhauling rehabilitation, beyond just the construction of additional passenger terminals. Even with the New Manila International Airport project in Bulacan, there is still the necessity of fixing up the venerable old NAIA, which had been suffering in operation performance ranking even as passenger traffic (pre-COVID-19) has continuously increased. But the exacting national government has already turned down a rehab proposal by a group of private companies called the NAIA Consortium. But they are not the only ones with proposals to give.
CNN Philippines reports that no less than two other firms from the private sector have approached the Department of Transportation (DOTr) with bids towards the rehabilitation of NAIA, outside of the previous and rejected proposal by the NAIA Consortium. This was noted by Department of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III at a recent media briefing, ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address. Dominguez notes that DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade and NAIA infrastructure project head Vince Dizon have already been in talks with the two private firms, the names of which are undisclosed.
The Finance Secretary recalled the failed bid only this past Tuesday, July 7, from the NAIA Consortium came as a result of the business alliance deciding that they cannot confidently finance the airport rehabilitation in the face of numerous adjustments in consideration of the COVID pandemic and its consequences on NAIA operations and passenger traffic. Dominguez expresses that the government is not entirely bothered by the bowing out of the primary proponent, seeing as the two other firms have their respective proposals in agreement with Clark Airport and the Bases Conservation and Development Authority (BCDA).
NAIA Consortium had ben comprised of a collaborative effort between several heavyweight conglomerates in the country, from Aboitiz, Alliance Global Group, JG Summit Holdings and more. Even the Metro Pacific Investments of Manny Pangilinan had been part of the consortium until breaking away in March. Technical support for their NAIA rehab bid would have come from the operators of the number one airport in the world, Singapore’s Changi Airport International. Contract pricing for the project had been set first at P350 billion for 35 years, then P105 billion for 15. Up to P8 trillion has been earmarked by the incumbent administration for transportation infrastructure rehabilitation, expected to last until 2022.
Image from Business World Online