Top firms prefer to join P74.6B NAIA project

At least four of the Philippines’ top corporations are eyeing to bid for the P74.6-billion upgrade of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

The conglomerates were identified as Ayala Corporation, Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV), Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan and Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp. (AEDC) of Lucio Tan.

Two conglomerates, however, had proposed to build a new international airport outside Metro Manila. San Miguel Corporation president Ramon Ang has proposed to build a $10-billion airport in Bulacan while Henry Sy’s Belle Corp., the high-end property developer of the SM Group, has acquired a significant stake in the Tieng family’s All-Asia Resources & Reclamation Corp. (ARRC).

The ARRC is the proponent of the Philippine Global Gateway Project which proposed to develop a $50 billion airport and seaport at Sangley Point in Cavite.

Most of the conglomerates, however, prefer the upgrade of the NAIA instead of supporting the development of a new international airport in either Bulacan or Cavite.

Both Ayala Corp. and Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp. (AEDC) said they would rather join the bidding for the NAIA upgrade under the government’s public-private partnership (PPP) program.

Ayala Corp. Managing Director Jose Rene Almendras said the development of a new international airport would take at least 10 years . “How soon can you build that airport? We will focus on NAIA to extend the life of NAIA,” Almendras said.

“We haven’t looked at the unsolicited proposals. We’re focused on the PPPs, which are mostly solicited bids — the five airports and NAIA, we’ll also bid for that,” according to AEV president and CEO Erramon Aboitiz.

MPIC president and CEO Jose Ma. K. Lim said they are interested to join the bidding for NAIA upgrade and five regional airports.
The NAIA Development Project under the PPP program includes operation and maintenance, with a 15- to 20-year concession agreement.