Aboitiz gains original proponent status for Laguindingan Airport upgrade

Aika Rey
Under a P42.7-billion proposal, Aboitiz would build new passenger terminals, install equipment, and enhance airside facilities

UPGRADE. The Laguindingan Airport may have an upgrade as proposed by Aboitiz InfraCapital Incorporated. File photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) granted the original proponent status (OPS) for the upgrade of the Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental to the infrastructure arm of the Aboitiz Group.

In a press release, Aboitiz InfraCapital Incorporated said the OPS was granted on February 26 for its unsolicited proposal to upgrade, expand, operate, and maintain the Laguindingan Airport for a 35-year concession period.

Aboitiz said the P42.7-billion project includes capacity expansion by building new passenger terminals, installation of required equipment, and enhancement and development of airside facilities.

“The granting of the OPS for the Laguindingan Airport opens up an opportunity for us to play a major role in improving our country’s vital gateways. We believe we can be instrumental in connecting our country’s local economies, thereby uplifting the lives of Filipinos,” Aboitiz InfraCapital chief executive officer Cosette Canilao said.

The airport is the main gateway to the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, both in Northern Mindanao.

Its passenger capacity is 1.6 million annually. But CAAP estimated that at least two million passengers passed through the airport in 2018.

Under the country’s build-operate-transfer and procurement laws, the government deals with unsolicited proposals through a Swiss challenge. This is when the government invites private groups to make competing offers, while giving the original proponent the right to match them.

Now that the OPS for the airport has been awarded, the CAAP Board will seek the approval of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Investment Coordination Committee (ICC).

If the NEDA ICC approves the project, it would go to the NEDA Board, chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte. After the NEDA Board’s approval, a Swiss challenge can be conducted.

The project is part of the P148-billion unsolicited proposal to upgrade 4 regional airports in the country. In March 2018, Aboitiz had submitted a proposal that also included the Iloilo International Airport, Bacolod-Silay Airport, and the Bohol-Panglao International Airport.

That proposal was turned down in April 2018. But another proposal for the Laguindingan Airport was submitted in August 2018.

The government had also awarded the OPS for the Bohol-Panglao International Airport in September 2018.

Aboitiz’s infrastructure arm is also part of the NAIA Consortium, which gained the OPS for the rehabilitation, development, operations, and maintenance of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport– Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.