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DOTr to fast-track NAIA privatization

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is working double time for the possible privatization of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as it fast-tracks the completion of the terms of references of its contract.

Late December last year, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said the DOTr is working with the Asian Development Bank for the preparation of the terms of reference for NAIA's privatization.

Bautista said the terms of reference will be available by the first quarter of 2023 "so we can entertain proposals from interested parties."

In a statement on Friday, the DOTr, citing Bautista's remarks during the Senate Committee on Public Services hearing on Thursday, said the agency is fast-tracking the privatization of NAIA.

"We will work and fast-track the privatization of the NAIA, because MIA remains the primary gateway to the Philippines,” said Bautista.

The DOTr said that NAIA has breached its rated capacity, thus it is high time for it to be modernized and expanded.

Bautista, in particular, said NAIA can only handle 40 to 44 movements of aircraft an hour.

Should its privatization push through, the NAIA can increase its aircraft capacity to 50 or even 55 aircraft movements.

"Admittedly, we have two airports that are across from each other. We can only handle 40 to 44 movements per hour, but with the new technology, we should be able to increase this to 50, or even 55," said Bautista.

The DOTr chief said with the amendment to the implementing rules and and regulations (IRR) of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme, any dispute or issue between the government and private sector will go through arbitration.

"We will fast-track the conditions of the terms of reference. Also, we are happy to inform you that there was an amendment to the IRR of the PPP Law, which will address the issue that I have just mentioned. And also, will allow arbitration, in case there's a dispute between the PH government and the private sector," Bautista said.

On the first day of 2023, 282 flights were canceled, diverted, or delayed after the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) recorded a technical issue at the Philippine Air Traffic Management Center (ATMC). Some 56,000 passengers were affected at the NAIA.

The incident has virtually shut down Philippine airspace for several hours, and was the subject of Thursday's Senate investigation. —Ted Cordero/KBK, GMA Integrated News

Tags: NAIA, DOTr, news