Government to develop Clark airport via hybrid mode

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The transportation department will no longer tap private-sector funds for the development of Clark International Airport, which was endorsed by the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) as the alternative gateway to the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) in Manila.

This effectively trashed the two unsolicited proposals submitted by private groups for the modernization of the facility.

In a statement, the agency said the development of Clark will be under a hybrid mode of implementation, as using government funds to expand the airport will be much faster than bidding it out under the Public-Private Partnership Program.

“[We] prefer that the government first develop Clark Airport, rather than risk delays in the event a bidding involving private-sector players would lead to litigation that would eventually place the project on hold,” the statement read.

In a nutshell, hybrid deals call for the construction of infrastructure projects by the government, but their operations and maintenance components will be tendered to the private sector.

“The development of the Clark International Airport now falls under the jurisdiction and responsibility of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, and remains to be one of the priority infrastructure projects of the Duterte administration,” the statement read further.

The state-run asset-disposition agency targets to open the new terminal by 2019. The two parties that separately offered unsolicited proposals for the development of Clark will soon “be informed of the new policy”.

Filinvest Development Corp. and JG Summit Holdings Inc. submitted their proposals to the transportation department last year, offering to build a P187-billion airport with an initial capacity of 8 million passengers annually.

Its proposal, based on the Aeroport de Paris master plan prepared for Clark in 2015, also allows the airport to expand its terminals and runways to easily accommodate traffic growth over the next 50 years.

The P250-billion proposal of GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp., on the other hand, involves the development of the airport in six phases, leading to a total annual passenger capacity of 100 million per year.

Under a 50-year development plan, it aims to build two terminals and three runways, two of which will be independent in an 850,000-square-meter land. The plan also involves the construction of an integrated railway connection from Manila, similar to the one in Delhi, India.

This unsolicited offer is at no cost to the government and will not require any subsidy, guarantee or mandatory movement of airlines from the Naia to Clark.

Metro Pacific Investments Corp. was also readying its own unsolicited proposal, even as it waits for a public tender to take place. Parties involved in these dealings deferred comments.

In a related development, the JFC has expressed support to develop Clark as the viable alternative to the Naia.

According to Clark International Airport Corp. President Alexander S. Cauguiran, he received the support from the foreign chambers after he presented the group an update on the airport’s development.

Clark Civil Aviation Complex, located within the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga, covers an area of approximately 2,367 hectares with a 3,200-meter-long runway and associated taxiways, aircraft parking apron, a passenger terminal building and related facilities. It has two runways in parallel configuration.

The airport logged in a total of 6,205 international and domestic flights with 950,732 passengers for local and foreign routes in 2016. The corporation is looking to increase passenger traffic to as much as 1.5 million passengers by year-end.

 

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