AirAsia joins consortium for Clark O&M bid

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AIRASIA Group Bhd. is joining a consortium, which includes Indonesian airport operator PT Angkasa Pura, that will make a bid for the operations and management (O&M) contract for Clark International Airport in Pampanga.

Dexter M. Comendador, Philippines AirAsia CEO, said the budget carrier is preparing the bid submission for the Clark O&M contract.

“It’s in progress. We’re just a small part of the consortium,” he said.

Aside from AirAsia, the consortium includes PT Angkasa Pura — an operator of multiple airports in Indonesia; an unnamed Philippine company, and foreign company.

Last month, AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes revealed on Twitter the company’s interest in bidding for the Clark airport.

“Bringing Asean together. Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines to bid for Clarke (sic) airport in Manila and build a big East Asean hub. Walking the talk on Asean. Kudos to Indonesia airports. Look what can be done in Asean when we work together,” Mr. Fernandes said in an Aug. 3 tweet.

The government is bidding out the 25-year, P5.61-billion O&M contract for the Clark International Airport.

In May, eight companies already bought the bid documents, namely the consortium of Megawide Construction Corp. and GMR Infrastructure Ltd.; Metro Pacific Investments Corp.; Filinvest Development Corp.; San Miguel Holdings Corp.; Prime Asset Ventures, Inc.; Central Luzon Infrastructure Consultancy, Inc.; Consortium; GVK Airport Developers Ltd.; and Groupe ADP.

The new passenger terminal building in the Clark airport is targeted to open in July 2020.

Meanwhile, Mr. Comendador, a former pilot, expressed concern over air safety, if the government’s plans to build other airports near Manila push through.

He noted the air space in the Metro Manila area is getting crowded with the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Clark, Basa Airbase, Sangley Point and Subic airports operating so close to one another.

The skies are expected to get even busier if San Miguel Corp. gets the go-signal to build a New Manila International Airport in Bulacan.

“The point is, at the moment, it’s already busy up there. If the air space is getting too crowded, and you want to add a sixth airport within the 60 nautical mile radius, it’s going to be a nightmare on the air,” Mr. Comendador said.

“If you move some of the traffic into Clark, then it will loosen up Manila a bit. But you add a third airport that is planning to put in four runways, Clark is trying to have three runways in the future, that’s just my concern,” he added. — Denise A. Valdez