THE infrastructure arm of the Ayala Group of companies is getting ready to bid for the P74.6-billion public private partnership (PPP) project to upgrade the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, a company official said.
In an interview on Tuesday, AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation president and chief executive officer Rene Almendras told reporters that their company is focused on bidding for the NAIA upgrade instead of the smaller domestic airports.
“We’re getting ready for the bigger one, which is NAIA. Let the others fix the domestic airports,” Almendras said.
“From the very beginning we really said na [that]since there are groups already interested sa [in]domestic naman [already], we want to be able to focus lang [only]on something which is critical—mas [more]critical,” Almendras said.
“It’s just that mas malaki ang problema ng NAIA. Kailangan mong ayusin ang NAIA kasi you increase the capacity of all the domestic airports, walang pupuntahan ang mga additional flights dun kung hindi natin aayusin ang NAIA,” Almendras said. [It’s just that NAIA has a bigger problem. You need to fix NAIA because, if you increase the capacity of all the domestic airports, the additional flights have nowhere to go if we do not fix NAIA.]
Last September, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board approved the NAIA PPP project of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Manila International Airport Authority.
“The project, which is DOTr’s medium-term solution (doable within three years), is to improve safety and security, maximize capacity through ‘refreshed’ infrastructure (airside requirements such as air traffic management), and improve passenger service standards in the existing NAIA,” NEDA earlier said.
The concession period for the PPP project is 15 to 20 years, including design and construction. NEDA has said it expects to award and sign a concession agreement for the project by September 2017.
Almendras said the Ayala Group has already formed a consortium with a number of foreign firms and one local firm to bid for the NAIA upgrade.
“The whole consortium is ready,” Almendras said.
The consortium led by the Ayala group is said to be partnering with three unnamed foreign companies, and Almendras said one more local player is looking to join their consortium.
“Isa [local firm]pero baka maging dalawa kasi may isang gustong sumali kung matuloy [One is local but there might be two because another one also wants to join if it goes ahead],” Almendras said.
He said the Ayala Group is still waiting for the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the airport PPP.
“Yes, we’re ready. We’re just waiting for the government to push through with the . . . we want to get the TOR, what are the details,” Almendras said.
Other conglomerates that have expressed interest in the NAIA PPP project are Megaworld Corporation, San Miguel Corporation and Metro Pacific Investment Corporation as well as the Lucio Tan-led Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corporation (AEDC).
Almendras said the Ayala group would consider participating in domestic airport PPP projects once NAIA is fixed.
“When NAIA is fixed, the capacity is increased, or there is more capacity to handle flights, then that will also redound to improvements in the domestic airports,” Almendras said.