Aboitiz estimates P7.4-B savings from putting 4 airports under 1 management

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By Anna Gabriela A. Mogato,,

ABOITIZ InfraCapital, Inc. said its proposal to upgrade four airports in the Visayas and Mindanao and operate them under a single management is more efficient and cost-effective.

“We proposed this project as part of a package. We believe that we can […] unlock synergies of scale when it comes to operating all four airports in a centralized manner,” Iara B. Arcilla, Aboitiz InfraCapital manager and spokesperson for its regional airport projects, told reporters last Friday.

“If you don’t really pull them together, imagine if an airport would need its own corporate functions. So [centralizing] them will estimate a total savings of P7.4 billion over the 35 years,” she added.

Last week, the infrastructure unit of the Aboitiz group submitted an unsolicited proposal for the P148-billion transformation of the Iloilo International Airport, Bacolod-Silay Airport, Laguindingan Airport, and New Bohol International Airport in Panglao into world-class facilities.

Asked why Aboitiz chose the four airports, Ms. Arcilla said this is due to the “booming” economy and tourism in the Visayas and Mindanao.

“It’s accelerating a lot in the last few years and will only continue but the airports have not been able to keep up. Obviously a lot of them are operating above capacity already,” she said.

Aboitiz InfraCapital is planning to adopt a “green airports” concept wherein the planning, implementation and operation will have the least environmental impact.

“We’re making it more systematic, having a scorecard on how you implement a sustainable airport. We hope that it is something that can be replicated and serve as a benchmark for all airport developments in the Philippines,” Ms. Arcilla said.

Aboitiz InfraCapital is also planning to introduce new technology such as virtual assistants and media walls in the four airports.

“As an added bonus, we’ll try to modernize as soon as possible to keep up with the changing times so we’re also proposing enhancements in making connected or digital airports,” Ms. Arcilla said.

If contract is awarded within the year, Aboitiz InfraCapital said it can start work on the airports in 2019 and have the terminals “rightfully sized for the traffic” by 2021.

The Aboitiz-led company will be competing with businessman Dennis A. Uy’s Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp. for the New Bohol International Airport in Panglao.

On Friday, Chelsea Logistics said it offered to upgrade the Bohol and Davao international airports for P67 billion.

Aboitiz InfraCapital is also part of the “super consortium” that submitted an unsolicited bid to rehabilitate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

The seven-conglomerate consortium also includes Ayala-led AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation, Andrew L. Tan-led Alliance Global Group, Inc., Lucio C. Tan-led Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corporation, Gotianun-led Filinvest Development Corporation, Gokongwei-led JG Summit Holdings, Inc., and Manuel V. Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corporation.