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NAIA rehab, upgrade bid heats up

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File photo of passengers going to their respective gates at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

THE GROUP behind the ongoing upgrade of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport will go head-to-head against a consortium made up of some of the country’s biggest conglomerates in the bid to rehabilitate and upgrade Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the country’s premier gateway.

Megawide Construction Corp. and India-based GMR Infrastructure Ltd. said in a joint press release on Thursday that they submitted a proposal to rehabilitate NAIA for $3 billion.

“As an experienced private operator, we have a deep understanding of the problem experienced by NAIA and we would like to offer our take on the solution,” the statement quoted Manuel Louie B. Ferrer, corporate information officer of Megawide, as saying.

The engineering-infrastructure company’s share price edged up by 0.71% to close P21.30 apiece on Thursday.

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GMR has been operating New Delhi Airport since 2006 as well as Istanbul Atatürk Airport.

Both firms formed a consortium that won the 25-year contract in April 2014 for the P17.52-billion Mactan-Cebu International Airport Passenger Terminal Building project — 83.34% completed as of end-2017 according to the Web site of the Public-Private Partnership Center — and are now undertaking this through GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp.

Their plan challenges the P350-billion unsolicited proposal for the rehabilitation, operation and maintenance of NAIA that was submitted to the Department of Transportation on Feb. 12 by a consortium composed of Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc.s’ Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc.; Ayala Corp.’s AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp.; Filinvest Development Corp.; JG Summit Holdings, Inc.; Alliance Global Group, Inc.; Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp.

That consortium has tapped airport operator Changi Airports International Pte Ltd as technical partner for rehabilitation work.

The GMR-Megawide proposal seeks to increase airfield capacity to 950-1,000 aircraft movements a day, a 30-37% hike from about 730 currently.

Proposed concession period will run for 18 years, about half the first group’s proposed 35 years.

The planned investment of $3 billion covers all airside, terminal and landside improvements, Megawide-GMR said, explaining that the first phase (for up to two years) will improve NAIA airside capacity and improve the existing terminal, the second phase (third to fourth year) will introduce “key performance measures” while the fifth to sixth year will build “future capacity.”

Immediately upon takeover- GMR-Megawide will improve capacity of airside infrastructure by building full-length parallel taxiways for both runways, constructing additional rapid-exit taxiways for the primary runway, extending the secondary runway and providing “the maximum number of aircraft stands”.

Within 24 months of taking over operations, GMR-Megawide plans to rehabilitate and expand existing terminals, doubling space to over 700,000 square meters.

Once completed, both airside facilities and terminals should be able to handle a total annual throughput of 72 million passengers compared to last year’s 42 million people and the designed capacity of 30.5 million.

Over the 18-year concession period, GMR-Megawide also plans to pay annual concession fees consisting of revenue share with a guaranteed minimum component; will not require any subsidy, equity or guarantee from the government and will hand over all assets to the government free of cost at the end of the concession term.

GMR-Megawide has also chosen US-based The MITRE Corp. as technical partner, especially for research and development in maximizing NAIA’s existing airside facilities.

“This is a technically responsive proposal,” Megawide’s Mr. Ferrer said in the statement.

“We have evaluated multiple options to enhance NAIA’s capacity and efficiency while reducing airside and landside congestion,” he added.

The same statement quoted Andrew Harrison, another authorized representative of the consortium, as saying: “Our detailed master plan takes into account all possible constraints in transforming a fully operational brownfield airport.”