Seven of the country’s biggest companies are banding together to bid for the rehabilitation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

An unsolicited proposal will be submitted to the government by Ayala-led AC Infrastructure Holdings, Inc., Aboitiz Infra Capital, Inc., Andrew Tan’s Alliance Global Group, Inc., the Gotianun’s Filinvest Development Corp., Gokongwei-owned JG Summit Holdings, Inc., Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp., and Lucio Tan’s Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp.

“The consortium believes that NAIA will continue to be a strategic gateway and a key hub of airline operations for the Philippines,” the firms said in separate disclosures to the stock exchange.

“With proper upgrades and strategic improvements, NAIA can easily accommodate an additional 11 million passengers annually from the current 39.5 million passengers, and can increase its hourly aircraft movements from 40 movements per hour to 48 movements per hour,” they added.

Amid proposals to build new airports outside Metro Manila to address congestion issues, the conglomerates underscored the need to maintain a facility inside the metropolis.

“Numerous foreign and local experts have highlighted the advantage of keeping an airport within city limits. Like
other major cities in the world, experts recommend an in-city airport and another one outside the metropolis to complement it. Megacities that benefit from a two-airport set-up include Tokyo (Haneda and Narita) and London (Gatwick and Heathrow),” they said.

Notably absent from the consortium are the SM Group of mall tycoon Henry Sy, which has proposed the construction of an alternative to NAIA in Sangley Point, Cavite, and San Miguel Corporation that has submitted an unsolicited proposal for a $10-billion international airport in Bulacan.

Details of the super-consortium’s plans were not disclosed. AC Infrastructure’s parent firm Ayala Corp. told the stock exchange that “the terms of the memorandum of understanding or framework of the consortium are still under negotiation”.

JG Summit, meanwhile, said “the consortium will work with foreign technical partners with proven world class track records and experiences in airport operations to improve, upgrade, and enhance the operational efficiencies of NAIA covering both landside and airside facilities”.

The companies said their unsolicited proposal would help accelerate the Duterte government’s “Build Build Build” initiative.

“Augmenting NAIA’s capacity is the quickest way to address airport congestion while other airports are being developed outside Metro Manila,” they said.

“The consortium believes that this approach promotes greater economic benefit and sustainability for the whole country.”

NAIA, named after the late senator Benigno Aquino Jr., is located on the border between the cities of Pasay and Paranaque. It is comprised of four terminals, three servicing international flights and the fourth – the oldest – used for domestic routes.

Terminal 1, the second oldest facility, has long exceeded its original capacity and was consistently ranked among the worst airports in the world by a travel website, dropping off the list only last year.

December 22, 2017