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NAIA super consortium to submit proposal next year

NAIA super consortium to submit proposal next year

MANILA, Philippines — The super consortium of seven conglomerates seeking to develop the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is now preparing its ambitious proposal and expects to formally submit it next year.

“We have not submitted yet. Most likely (it will be next year),” said a source, a ranking official in one of the seven companies that have confirmed participation in the group.

The seven mammoth companies are Metro Pacific Investments Corp., chaired by tycoon Manuel V. Pangilinan; Ayala Corp., the country’s oldest conglomerate; Aboitiz Equity Ventures, the Cebu-based empire; LT Group Inc., taipan Lucio Tan’s holding company; Andrew Tan’s Alliance Global Inc.; the Gotianun family’s Filinvest Land Inc. and JG Summit Inc., the conglomerate of the Gokongwei family.

But in their separate disclosures to the Philippine Stock Exchange last week, the conglomerates, in similarly worded statements said talks are still in the exploratory stage and that no firm commitment or formal agreements have been reached, including the final composition of the consortium.

If the project pushes through, the Philippines may finally have the much needed airport upgrade and possibly a new airport as planned by San Miguel Corp. (SMC) in Bulacan.

Japan for instance, has both Haneda and Narita airports serving 75 million and 35 million passengers, respectively.

Industry sources said the country could afford more than one main gateway given its fast growing economy and urgent need for new infrastructure.

Other sources, however, pointed out that the government must guarantee that there wouldn’t be another airport for 25 years as an incentive to the proponents of the long-delayed NAIA rehabilitation.

The government has already granted original proponent status to San Miguel Corp.’s proposed new airport in Bulacan.

The seven conglomerates have each previously expressed their keen interest to bid for the P74.6 billion upgrade of NAIA but are just waiting for the government’s final decision on the matter.

This time, however, instead of submitting separate proposals, the conglomerates are looking to join forces to have a more powerful proposal.

Sources said leading the group is the Ayala Group, which has consistently been focused on NAIA rehabilitation and not the other regional airports.

Many of the conglomerates such as Ayala Group and the MVP Group have previously expressed interest in participating in the redevelopment of NAIA instead of joining a proposal for a totally new gateway.

Among the different conglomerates, Lucio Tan’s group, through his Philippine Airlines, has also earlier unveiled a P20 billion plan to expand NAIA Terminal 2, its current hub for local and international flights.

The group of taipan Henry Sy is not part of the so-called super consortium as his Belle Corp. has already teamed up with Tieng family for a proposed airport and seaport in Sangley, Cavite.

But there are other companies not part of the super consortium that may also be interested in redeveloping NAIA.

Construction conglomerate and Cebu airport operator Megawide Corp., for instance, is also interested in submitting an unsolicited proposal for NAIA and is willing to go against the heavyweights of the business community, said Louie Ferrer, president of the GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp.

NAIA, which traces its history to as early as 1948, was built to handle 30 million passengers but is currently handling nearly 40 million passengers.

Experts have noted the need to enhance the runway and terminal capacities at NAIA to provide much needed additional capacity until a new airport is ready.

The Duterte administration has vowed to usher in the so-called golden age of infrastructure in the country with the development of new roads, bridges and airports with the help of the private sector.


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