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GMR-Megawide granted original proponent status for NAIA rehab

More than two years since it submitted an unsolicited proposal to rehabilitate and operate Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Megawide Construction Corp. and its consortium partner Bangalore-based GMR Infrastructure Ltd. was granted original proponent status (OPS).

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Friday, the listed construction firm said the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) granted OPS to GMR-Megawide for the development of NAIA in a letter dated July 15.

The granting of OPS to GMR-Megawide came days after negotiations between the so-called NAIA Consortium and the government collapsed after the MIAA withdrew the OPS from the consortium.

The NAIA Consortium, composed of AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., Alliance Global Group Inc., Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp., Filinvest Development Corp., and JG Summit Holdings Inc., announced in separate disclosures that the government scrapped proposed changes that would "ensure the bankability of the NAIA project."

Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp. was also part of the consortium until it pulled out in March.

Now that the consortium is out of the picture, the government is now looking into the $3-billion unsolicited proposal of GMR-Megawide, which was submitted in March 2018 but was set aside in favor of NAIA Consortium.

GMR-Megawide submitted the proposal weeks after the NAIA consortium filed its proposal and tapped the assistance of Singapore's Changi airport.

“The decongestion and rehabilitation of NAIA is vital to sustainably supporting the air traffic needs of our national capital region. Megawide has always been supportive of our Government’s vision to improve and modernize the airport infrastructure in the Philippines and we are committed to bringing our experience in airport operations and management, and engineering excellence to the country’s main gateway,”  Louie Ferrer, Megawide managing director for Transportation, said.

In its proposal, GMR-Megawide plans to construct full-length parallel taxiways for both of NAIA's runways, construct an additional rapid-exit taxiways for the primary runway, extend the secondary runway, and  provide the maximum number of aircraft stands.

GMR-Megawide said the solutions will increase airfield capacity to 950 to 1,000 aircraft movements per day, a 30-35 percent increase from the current 730 aircraft a day.

For peak hours, the consortium will increase NAIA’s aircraft handling capacity by 50 percent, from 40 to 60%.

Within 24 months of taking over operations, the consortium also plans to rehabilitate and expand the existing terminals, which will roughly double the space and result in over 700,000 square meters of terminal area, according to GMR-Megawide.

Once completed, both the airside facilities and the terminals shall be able to handle a total annual throughput of 72 million passengers.

GMR-Megawide also proposed an 18-year concession term for the NAIA.

GMR-Megawide is the consortium that bagged the maintenance, operation, and rehabilitation of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) - the country's second largest airport.

In 2018, the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation Pty. Ltd., the world’s leading airport and aviation think-tank, named MCIA as Airport of the Year.

Since the handover of operations in November 2014, passenger volume steadily increased from 4.5 million per annum to 12.7 million in 2019.

“Our team has transformed MCIA as primarily the country’s top tourism gateway. We aim to contribute our experience in airport development and value engineering to the long-awaited resurgence of NAIA,” Ferrer said.

“We believe in the potential of NAIA and we see its vital role in our economy’s recovery and continuing development. As our main gateway, it is a symbol of our Philippine identity and its rehabilitation will be a big step towards achieving our vision of a First-World Philippines,” he continued.

Ferrer mentioned that the Megawide-led consortium is now awaiting the next steps from the Government. -MDM, GMA News