airports in the Philippines

Megawide: NAIA should be fixed, whoever the company

Aika Rey

REHABILITATION. Facade of Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.

Photo by Mithril Cloud/Wikicommons

But Megawide CEO Edgar Saavedra says, 'We are the only ones who have the track record right now'

While the fate of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) remains uncertain, what’s sure is that the Philippines’ main gateway needs rehabilitation, said Megawide Construction Corporation.

Speaking to businessmen on Wednesday, January 20, Megawide chief executive officer Edgar Saavedra said the government has yet to send them official notice on the rejection of their proposal to rehabilitate NAIA.

“I think NAIA should be rehabilitated, whoever the rightful proponent is. Whether it would be Megawide or whoever…for the good of the country,” said Saavedra.

He also said the main gateway is still due for an upgrade despite the setbacks during the coronavirus pandemic.

NAIA had been operating beyond its capacity of 31 million people annually. Megawide targeted to expand this to 65 million.

In December 2020, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) Board revoked the original proponent status issued to Megawide and its Indian partner GMR Infrastructure Limited over insufficient equity.

Megawide asked the board to reconsider their unsolicited proposal, explaining that the remaining equity requirement would be filled in by GMR.

According to a Rappler source, however, the MIAA Board “unanimously rejected” Megawide’s appeal on January 14.

“We will respect whatever the decision. We know that we’ll just do our best and submit our proposal based on our capabilities,” said Saavedra.

Asked whether the firm would be open to working with other companies to fix NAIA, Saavedra said they would be willing if the government tells them to do so. But he added that Megawide is capable of handling the project on its own, given its success with the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

“We can always work with anyone if that’s the direction of the government. But if you ask us, from our point of view, we can run NAIA. Now, if we need a partner…it will not be a problem for us,” Saavedra said.

“But from the current management that we have, we have the capacity. We know how to run it. We can expand it. And we can say that we are the only ones who have the track record right now.”

Megawide’s P109-billion proposal for NAIA included building a new passenger terminal building, taxiways, and an elevated railway linking terminals. The proposed design for NAIA Terminal 1 was inspired by the Banaue Rice Terraces.

This is the second time the Philippine government terminated NAIA rehabilitation talks. MIAA said in December that other firms are interested in the project, but San Miguel Corporation said it is only eyeing NAIA operations and not upgrades. – Rappler.com

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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.