DOTr to review P350-billion NAIA rehabilitation proposal

MANILA, Philippines – The P350-billion proposal to rehabilitate, expand, operate, and maintain the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is now being reviewed by the Department of Transportation (DOTr), an evaluation expected to be completed in two months or by April.

This was after a consortium of 7 of the country's biggest conglomerates submitted their 35-year unsolicited proposal last February 12.

Transportation Undersecretary for Aviation Manuel Antonio Tamayo said the proposal will have to undergo thorough evaluation before the department can give the original proponent status to the NAIA Consortium.

The NAIA Consortium is composed of 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.

"We have to study it and it will have to go through the usual process evaluated initially by the MIAA. [The] MIAA will go through it, make the recommendations to us," Tamayo told reporters on the sidelines of a demonstration tour in Pasay City last Thursday, February 15.

"We will study it as well with the proponents, and then we have to submit it to [the] National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)," Tamayo added.

If the NAIA Consortium bags the original proponent status and the NEDA Board approves the project, the government can start the Swiss challenge for the NAIA project.

One step ahead

Based on the build-operate-transfer law, other private investors can submit competing offers under a Swiss challenge, while the original proponent will be given the right to match them.

The NAIA Consortium has teamed up with Singapore's Changi Airports International Private Limited, which would provide technical support in the areas of master planning, operations optimization, and commercial development.

Should the two firms push through, the NAIA Consortium will be competing with public-private partnership (PPP) frontrunner Megawide Construction Corporation and the state-owned Social Security System (SSS), which had also expressed plans of submitting an unsolicited proposal to rehabilitate and operate NAIA.

The NAIA Consortium's airport rehabilitation and expansion proposal will be divided into two phases:

For the consortium, its planned NAIA upgrades would elevate the dilapidated airport to the level of major regional gateways, like Changi in Singapore and Suvarnabhumi in Bangkok, becoming a viable transit hub for Southeast Asia.

The government had put on hold the NAIA development PPP plan until it comes up with a holistic approach to redevelop key airports. – Rappler.com