‘The people who are joining us are coming from a particular core competency and expertise that can add to the project,’ says the president and CEO of AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation

MANILA, Philippines – Ayala Corporation, the country’s oldest conglomerate, formed a consortium with 3 foreign airline operators to bid for the P74.56-billion ($1.66-billion) deal to upgrade the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

“We are happy the way our consortium came out. The people who are joining us are coming from a particular core competency and expertise that can add to the project,” former cabinet secretary Rene Almendras, president and CEO of AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation, told reporters in Makati City last week.

Although he refused to divulge the names of the 3 foreign airline operators, Almendras said AC Infrastructure is hopeful that they would help the company win the bid.

The consortium of Ayala will be battling with Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corporation (AEDC) – a firm built by taipans in 1993 during the term of then president Fidel Ramos.

John Gokongwei, Andrew Gotianun, Henry Sy Sr, Lucio Tan, George Ty, and Alfonso Yuchengco formed AEDC to submit an unsolicited proposal for the construction of a 3rd terminal at NAIA.

Aside from AEDC, Manuel V. Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corporation and San Miguel Corporation have expressed intention to bid for the NAIA public-private partnership (PPP) deal as well.

The winning bidder for the airport PPP project will improve all existing NAIA terminals, covering both landside and airside (except air traffic services), to meet the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

“It’s not just about fixing it. It’s not just about making it run better. It is about doing it so you can accommodate more passengers until the time you have a new airport,” Almendras told reporters.

“We’re focusing on NAIA because we think NAIA is very important to the country. If you don’t fix NAIA, the additional capacity from other airports won’t happen because you won’t be able to bring it to NAIA,” he added.

Should Ayala win the PPP deal, Almendras said adding a runway is something his group will consider.

“Every bidder should make that assumption. It’s not logical to invest in terminals and all that if the planes don’t have a place to land,” he said.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) approved in September the NAIA redevelopment project to upgrade the country’s main gateway.

“When the government invites bidders, we are ready,” Almendras said.

Other than the NAIA PPP, the government is also bidding out the upgrade of 5 regional airports: the Bacolod-Silay, Iloilo, Davao, Laguindingan, and New Bohol airports. – Rappler.com

18 December 2016
By Chrisee Dela Paz