NAIA Consortium gains original proponent status for P102-B airport rehab

MANILA, Philippines – The consortium made up of 7 of the country's top conglomerates has bagged the original proponent status (OPS) for the rehabilitation, development, operations, and maintenance of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

In a statement, the NAIA Consortium confirmed that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) have awarded them the OPS. The project is now up for the approval of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board.

"[We] are prepared to start work immediately after the airport is turned over to the consortium. Our fellow Filipinos can expect a better airport experience as early as the 3rd year from the time we commence rehabilitation work." NAIA Consortium spokesperson Jimbo Reverente said.

The superconsortium originally proposed a concession period of 35 years, with a total project cost of P350 billion to rehabilitate, develop, operate, and maintain the country's main gateway. The DOTr has brought it down to a P102-billion project for 15 years.

The operator of the world's best Singapore airport, Changi Airports International Private Limited, serves as the NAIA Consortium's technical consultant. The end goal is to make NAIA be able to compete as a premier international gateway.

Once approved by the NEDA board, the unsolicited proposal will undergo a Swiss challenge. With this procedure, the government invites private groups to make competing offers.

But since the NAIA Consortium has already been awarded the OPS, it has the upper hand with the right to match the offers. (READ: Recto to DOTr: Why so slow with airport projects?)

The proposal of the NAIA Consortium is being challenged by that of listed Megawide Construction Corporation and its Bangalore-based partner GMR Infrastructure Limited, which is proposing to rehabilitate NAIA for P155.9 billion within 18 years.

DOTr director for communications Goddes Libiran told Rappler that they plan to complete the Swiss Challenge by the end of the year.

The 7 partners of the NAIA consortium are Aboitiz InfraCapital Incorporated, AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation, Alliance Global Group Incorporated, Asia's Emerging Dragon Corporation, Filinvest Development Corporation, JG Summit Holdings Incorporated, and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation.

NAIA, designed to handle only 31 million passengers, is expected to accommodate 47 million in 2019. It accommodated a total of 42 million passengers in 2017, according to MIAA. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

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