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Gokongwei: Cebu airport project now more viable

Rappler.com
The changes in the project terms of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport expansion project have made it commercially viable for investors, according to one of the 7 bidders

POSTPONED. Bidding for the Mactan-Cebu International Airport expansion won't push through as scheduled. Photo courtesy of the PPP Center

MANILA, Philippines – The recent revisions in the terms of the P17.5 billion Mactan-Cebu International expansion project have made it a commercially viable investment for the private sector, according to one of the bidders. 

Lance Gokongwei, the president and chief operating officer of diversified conglomerate JG Summit Holdings Inc., stressed this when asked about the airport project lined up to be auctioned off amid a series of delays and a failure in the bidding of big-ticket government infrastructure projects.

“I think certainly that would be helpful to make it more attractive to private investors,” Gokongwei said, referring to the overhauled terms of the concession agreement for the expansion project of Cebu airport, the country’s second busiest gateway. 

“We’re working on it very closely with our partner, with Metro Pacific,” he added.

JG Summit and infrastructure giant Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) led by businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan have formed the MPIC-JGS Airport Consortium, one of the 7 groups prequalified to bid for the airport project under the public-private partnership (PPP) scheme. Bidding has been moved to November 15.

The consortium’s foreign partner for the project is Aeroports de Lyon of France.

The Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) has revised the concession agreement after a series of consultations with the 7 groups who had raised some issues regarding the commercial, design and technical aspects of the project.

The consultation process was meant to avoid a possible failure of bidding, which was the case in another big-ticket PPP project. READ: LRT-1 Cavite Extension bidding ‘a failure’

The DOTC is seeking the approval of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on the following proposed changes to the project terms:

  • Lengthening of the concession period from 20 years to 25 years
  • Transfer of the Operation and Maintenance from the grantors to the concessionaire
  • Allowing flexibility on the implementation of augmentation of capacity
  • Sharing of liability for Real Property Tax
  • Increasing the duration of the period for prohibiting competing airports from 10 years or when the passenger traffic at the airport reaches 15 million per year to 20 years or when passenger traffic reaches 20 million for 3 years depending which is later

Pre-qualified bidders

The following are the 7 groups of Filipino and foreign firms prequalified to vie for the project: 

The project

The Cebu airport project involves the upkeep of old and new facilities and the construction of a new passenger terminal with capacity of 8 million passengers per year.

The airport’s existing terminal has a capacity of 4.5 million passengers per year. It was breached way back in 2010. READ AND WATCH: Cebu airport expansion comes late

The airport sits on a 797-hectare property, and has a single 3,300-meter runway and a full-length taxiway.

It is the country’s second busiest gateway, next to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. – Rappler.com

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