SEVEN Philippine conglomerates said on Tuesday that they have formally submitted to the Department of Transportation a proposal to transform the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) into a regional hub at a cost of up to P350 billion.
The seven conglomerates are Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc, AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation, Alliance Global Group Inc, Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp, Filinvest Development Corporation, JG Summit Holdings Inc, and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation.
Tagged as the NAIA consortium or “super consortium,” the seven firms said they have also appointed Changi International Airport as their technical partner in the rehabilitation of NAIA.
“The proposal involves expanding and interconnecting the existing terminals of NAIA, upgrading airside facilities, and developing commercial facilities to increase airline and airport efficiencies, enhance passenger comfort and experience, and improve public perception of NAIA as the country’s premier international gateway,” NAIA Consortium spokesperson Jose Emmanuel Reverente said in a press briefing in Makati.
Reverente said the proposal calls for a 35-year concession period and each partner gets a 1/7th part of the project.
“We expect that phase one can be completed in 48 months, while phase two will still be under consultation with the government as to what capacity upgrades are necessary,” Reverente said.
Reverente clarified that the consortium members “support the multi-airport strategy of the government” and do not consider developing other airports–such as the Clark International Airport and the possible construction of an airport in Bulacan or Sangley–as a concern.
“The more airports we have, the better it will be for our economy,” he said.
He said the project would increase NAIA’s capacity from the current 30 million passengers per year to 65 million.
The consortium, he said, was in discussions with the DOTr to determine the placing of the new runways and other infrastructure, as well as how it would be connected to mass transit systems.
Philippine Airlines, which exclusively operates at the NAIA Terminal 2, said it supported the proposal as it would also benefit their airline business.
“We welcome any development of NAIA because NAIA is our hub. Right now, the capacity of the four terminals in NAIA is like 30 million passengers per year but there were 40 million passengers handled by the four terminals,” PAL President Jaime Bautista said.
“If the Super Consortium will address this, we will be benefiting from it because it will really be contributing to the four-star rating,” Bautista said.
PAL has recently received a four-star rating from international aviation rating body Skytrax.
Meanwhile, Megawide-GMR, the operator of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, commended the Super Consortium for the proposal and expressed interest to participate in the development and rehabilitation of Philippine airports, including the NAIA.
“Megawide-GMR intends to participate in the development and rehabilitation of Philippine airports and this still includes NAIA. The government and the people now have the choice between a number of airport proposals and which ones offer the best value. This kind of competition is healthy for the infrastructure sector,” Megawide Chief Marketing Officer Louie Ferrer said in a statement.
“Our participation comes from our experience in operating and developing Mactan-Cebu Airport, which has transformed from a small airport into one of the best in Asia-Pacific, in the category of less than 10 million passengers. Our understanding of passenger behavior and stakeholder capabilities has allowed us to increase connections and passenger numbers. Not only that, we have a solid engineering background through the construction of Terminal 2, and a partner whose airports are consistently named among the world’s best,” Ferrer added. REICELENE JOY N. IGNACIO