By Krista A.M. Montealegre
MACTAN, CEBU — The consortium of Megawide Construction Corp. and India’s GMR Infrastructure Ltd. is joining the bidding for the operations and maintenance (O&M) contract for the Clark International Airport in Pampanga.
Interested parties can purchase the bid documents for the project starting today.
“Megawide-GMR intends to participate in the bid for Clark O&M. We will carefully study the terms and qualifications set by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority,” the consortium said in a statement.
The government is adopting a hybrid public-private partnership (PPP) model for Clark Airport. Under this policy, the government will fund the construction of the new terminal in Clark, while the O&M contract would be auctioned off to the private sector.
Megawide-GMR earlier won the auction to build the new Clark terminal late last year.
Meanwhile, GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC) is set to start commissioning the new passenger terminal of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) on June 22, with President Rodrigo R. Duterte set to grace its opening.
GMCAC President Louie B. Ferrer told Manila-based reporters flown here last week the new international terminal is on track to open ahead of the July 1 schedule, as provided in the concession agreement, despite previous delays in the turnover of the project to the consortium of Megawide and GMR.
GMCAC won the contract for the P17.52-billion Mactan-Cebu International Airport Passenger Terminal Building project under the Aquino administration’s flagship public-private partnership (PPP) program and the concession to develop MCIA for a period of 25 years.
With the opening of Terminal 2 and the launch of new flights out of Cebu, MCIA is eyeing passenger traffic to reach 11.2 million this year, up 12% from the passenger count of 10 million in 2017, said GMCAC Chief Executive Advisor Andrew Harrison.
GMCAC will immediately start work on the phased rehabilitation of Terminal 1 once the new terminal, which will cater to international flights to and from Cebu, commences operation.
MCIA serves 25 domestic destinations with seven carriers, and 22 international destinations with 17 airlines. Last year alone, it opened eight new routes to China.
In the next two years, new routes connecting Cebu to Europe, Australia and other Southeast Asian countries and expanding connections to China, Japan and South Korea will be in the works. GMCAC has been in talks with airport operators in Sweden, Australia and Japan to market Cebu as a destination and to showcase MCIA as an ideal gateway to the Philippines.
“We’ve only got the tiny tip of the iceberg when it comes to China. Our focus is on Australia and Europe,” Mr. Harrison said.
GMCAC is attributing the growth of MCIA’s passenger traffic to its destination marketing initiatives, which is anchored on strengthening Cebu’s connectivity and its positioning as a viable gateway to the rest of the Philippines as well as a major transfer hub to other countries.
The shutdown of Boracay to tourism is expected to boost passenger volumes for MCIA, said Ravishankar Saravu, GMCAC chief commercial adviser.
“We see some airlines are re-routing their flights from Boracay to Cebu. We are not seeing yet, but we should,” said Mr. Saravu.
In the event the government decides to close Cebu to tourism for rehabilitation, GMCAC expects passenger traffic to remain positive because of the strong business activity in the region, while noting that other tourism sites have initiated a cleanup in their own respective areas.
Last February, GMCAC was granted the original proponent status for its proposal to upgrade and expand the Mactan-Cebu airport at a cost of P208 billion.
The government turned over the airport’s operation and maintenance to the Megawide-GMR consortium on Nov. 1, 2014. This, however, did not include the improvement, operations, and maintenance of the runway and other related facilities, which to date remain with the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority.