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‘Super consortium’ gets serious about NAIA rehabilitation bid

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A “super consortium” of seven of the biggest Philippine companies committed to submit an unsolicited proposal to rehabilitate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

JG Summit Holdings Inc. said Thursday the consortium will file an unsolicited proposal to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for the project.

Other members of the consortium are Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc., AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation, Alliance Global Group Inc., Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corporation, Filinvest Development Corporation, and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation.

“The unsolicited proposal 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. The consortium believes that this approach promotes greater economic benefit and sustainability for the whole country,” JG Summit said.

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

Consortium members confirmed earlier they were in talks but that no final commitments were made.

“The consortium believes that the NAIA will continue to be a strategic gateway for our country and a key hub of airline operations for many more years,” JG Summit said.

The government approved last year the P74.56-billion public-private partnership (PPP) project to improve, upgrade, and enhance the operational efficiencies of the NAIA to meet International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards.

The project, however, has been stalled due to concerns of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

“A concern that has been raised within DOTr is that the concession period to recover the investments for that project would be quite long,” PPP Center Executive Director Ferdinand Pecson told reporters in a recent interview.

The PPP Center is on standby regarding the project.

JG Summit said maintaining the NAIA would be advantageous to the country, given its close proximity to business centers.

“Numerous foreign and local experts have highlighted the advantage of keeping an airport within city limits. Like other major cities in the world, experts recommend an in-city airport and another one outside the metropolis to complement it. Megacities that benefit from a two-airport set-up include Tokyo (Haneda and Narita) and London (Gatwick and Heathrow),” it said.

“The consortium 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,” it added.

If the consortium gets the original proponent status for the project, other interested companies may match the offer under a Swiss Challenge. — Jon Viktor Cabuenas/VDS, GMA News

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