DOTr grants original proponent status to Naia Consortium

Photo from CNN Philippines

THE transportation department has officially granted the original proponent status (OPS) to Naia Consortium—a group of seven of the largest conglomerates in the Philippines—for the redevelopment and operations of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).

Naia Consortium Spokesman Jose Emmanuel P. Reverente said his group has received the OPS—granted to the first group that submitted an unsolicited proposal for a certain project—is a step closer toward the granting of the deal.

His group, he said, is looking forward to the Swiss challenge procedure for the project.

It has only been seven months since the group submitted the proposal to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Manila International Airport Authority (Miaa).

“We are very grateful to the DOTr and Miaa for granting the consortium the OPS, as it triggers a series of steps we need to work on to make this project happen. The Naia Consortium looks forward to working closely with the DOTr and Miaa to progress this initiative,” Reverente said.

Under the proposal, the group aims to transform the Naia into a regional airport hub that will have the capacity and capability to handle and meet “the anticipated growth in passenger traffic from the strong economies of the Philippines and the region.”

It initially submitted a P350-billion proposal that involved the augmentation of the Naia’s capacity from 35 million passengers per annum to 47 million passengers per year for the first phase. The second phase, under the initial proposal, will bring the total capacity of Naia to 65 million passengers annually by 2022.

The first proposal also carried a 35-year concession period.

After a period of negotiations, the government and the proponent agreed to lower the concession period to 15 years.

“We remain focused on our commitment to deliver to our country a significantly improved Naia and are prepared to start work immediately after the airport is turned over to the consortium,” Reverente said.

He noted his group will follow and respect the legal process, including the Swiss challenge procedure for unsolicited proposals.

Being granted the OPS allows Naia Consortium—composed of Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc., AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., Alliance Global Group Inc., Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp., Filinvest Development Corp., JG Summit Holdings Inc. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp.—to match the counteroffer submitted by any group interested in the project.

Previously, Megawide Construction Corp. submitted its own proposal for the redevelopment of Naia, but was not prioritized because its proposal was a few days late relative to Naia Consortium’s submission.

The P102-billion proposal involves expanding and interconnecting the existing terminals of the Naia, upgrading airside facilities, developing commercial facilities to increase airline and airport efficiencies, enhancing passenger comfort and experience, and elevating the status of the Naia as the country’s premier international gateway.

These improvements will be implemented by the consortium with minimal disruption to ongoing airport operations, Reverente noted.

“Our fellow Filipinos can expect a better airport experience as early as the third year from the time we commence rehabilitation work,” he added.

Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said his group is finalizing the terms of reference for the unsolicited proposal and completing all the documentary requirements that will be submitted to National Economic and Development Authority Investment Coordination Committee.

He added this is just part of his agency’s goal of developing aviation hubs in the Philippines, citing the government’s Aviation Roadmap.

“We have our Aviation Roadmap. Phase 1 is to improve and enhance our primary gateways such as Naia and Clark International Airport. It also includes the search for new airports such as Sangely and Bulacan,” Tugade said.

He explained that Clark’s expansion is currently underway, with the new passenger terminal building now at 10-percent completion rate. The transport department broke ground for the expansion in December last year.

Tugade added this will complement infrastructure projects in Central and Northern Luzon such as Manila-Clark Railway, Subic-Clark Cargo Railway, and the New Clark City.

The transport department is also developing and rehabilitating regional air hubs to allow them to be night-rated.

“Before we came, there were only 15 night-rated airports. Now we have more than 20 commercially operated airports that are night-rated. This also includes the improvement of runways,” he said.

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Sources regularly see Lorenz at telco and transport conferences. He graduated from the University of Santo Tomas, and has been covering the beat since 2013. He likes to featurize stories, and tries to find another angle for spot news. He travels during his spare time, and likes his coffee black -- no cream, no sugar.