By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

Megawide Construction Corp. on Friday said it received the government’s nod for its proposal to rehabilitate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), which was initially submitted over two years ago.

“In a letter dated 15 July 2020, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) granted the consortium led by Megawide with GMR as partner operator, the original proponent status (OPS) for the development of NAIA,” it told the exchange on Friday.

However, Megawide Director Manuel Louie B. Ferrer said the government gave its own terms of reference for the NAIA project when it granted the OPS.

“The government has its own terms of reference for us to consider. So, it’s just a yes or no for us,” he told BusinessWorld in a mobile message on Friday.

Since the new set of terms differ from the company’s original proposal, Mr. Ferrer said they are currently evaluating it.

“We will do our best just like how we poured our heart and soul at our Mactan Airport and PITx (Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange),” Mr. Ferrer said.

Megawide and GMR Infrastructure Ltd. currently operate the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) through its subsidiary GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp., led by Mr. Ferrer as president.

“Our team has transformed MCIA as primarily the country’s top tourism gateway. We aim to contribute our experience in airport development and value engineering to the long-awaited resurgence of NAIA,” Mr. Ferrer said in a statement.

To recall, the tandem of Megawide and GMR submitted in March 2018 a $3-billion (approximately P148.43 billion) unsolicited proposal to rehabilitate the NAIA over an 18-year period. It had tapped American company The Mitre Corp. as its technical partner for the project.

Megawide-GMR said then that its plan was to increase NAIA’s capacity to 72 million annual passengers from its original 30.5 million. This involves increasing the airport’s airfield capacity to 950-1,000 aircraft movements per day and expanding existing terminals to more than 700,000 square meters.

But the company’s 2018 proposal was shelved by the government because its submission was beaten by a few weeks by the super consortium.

The consortium – originally 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 – submitted a P350-billion NAIA rehabilitation proposal in February 2018, ahead of Megawide-GMR.

After tweaking its proposal and reducing the project cost to P102 billion, the super consortium was eventually granted OPS by the government in September 2018.

However, the consortium’s OPS was revoked on July 10 after it failed to get the government’s approval to revise project conditions in light of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Based on Build-Operate-Transfer rules, a company that has been granted OPS for an unsolicited proposal will be subjected to a Swiss challenge after the award. In this stage, other companies are invited to counter the proposal, and the original proponent will have the right to match them.

Shares in Megawide at the stock exchange closed three centavos or 0.41% down to P7.24 apiece.