Conglomerates form ‘Super Consortium’ to propose NAIA upgrade

UPGRADE WANTED. The country's richest businessmen are looking to push the country's main gateway into world-class territory.

File Photo/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s biggest conglomerates have teamed up to create a super consortium to propose an upgrade to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Aboitiz Infra Capital Incorporated, AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation, Alliance Global Group Incorporated, Filinvest Development Corporation, JG Summit Holdings Incorporated, Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, and Asia's Emerging Dragon Corporation (AEDC) have agreed to jointly rehabilitate, operate, and maintain NAIA, they said in a statement on Thursday, December 21.

They first announced the idea of joining forces and submitting an unsolicited proposal to the Department of Transportation (DOTR) in early December. 

The unsolicited proposal,” the group explained, ”is intended to help accelerate the government’s “Build Build Build” program. Augmenting NAIA’s capacity is the quickest way to address airport congestion while other airports are being developed outside Metro Manila”.

Strategic gateway

The conglomerates involved said they believe NAIA would continue to be a strategic gateway for the country and a key hub of airline operations for many more years.

“Given proper upgrades and strategic improvements, NAIA can easily accommodate an additional 11 million passengers annually from the current 39.5 million passengers, and can increase its hourly aircraft movements (landing and take-off) from 40 movements per hour to 48 movements per hour,” they said.

The consortium said it “will work with foreign technical partners with proven world class track records and experiences in airport operations to improve, upgrade, and enhance the operational efficiencies of NAIA covering both landside and airside facilities.”

The consortium also noted that numerous foreign and local experts have highlighted the advantage of keeping an airport within city limits for megacities, while also recommending a second airport outside city limits to complement it.

Numerous megacities around the world benefit from this two-airport setup, one within city and one outside. They include London (Heathrow and Gatwick) and Tokyo (Narita and Haneda).

Metro Manila has a similar setup with its second airport Clark International Airport in Pampanga, which has just started on its own expansion.

Two notable absences in the super consortium are the Henry Sy-led SM Group, the country's largest conglomerate, and San Miguel Corporation. They have both submitted proposals to build new airports. SM is proposing one in Cavite, while San Miguel is eyeing one in Bulacan. – Chris Schnabel/