Philippines woos other investors for airport facelift after consortium fails

10, Jul. 2020

Philippines’ Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NNA)
Philippines’ Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NNA)

MANILA, NNA – Two other potential investors are reportedly keen to modernize Philippines’ Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after a consortium withdrew their participation following failure in talks with the government.

On Wednesday, Philippines Finance Secretary Carlo Dominguez told the media that the government was already in talks with the two bidders for the massive upgrade of the heavily congested airport in Metro Manila.

Without naming them, he said the two firms are willing to take up the project and fulfill the conditions set by the government. On Thursday, the Inquirer reported that Megawide Construction Corp. would be willing to revisit its proposal, which was apparently submitted some weeks after the consortium had given theirs.

The Department of Transportation announced on Wednesday that it had revoked the status of the first bidder, NAIA Consortium, so that it could move on to assess other proposals that it had received.

After submitting its first proposal to the government in February 2018, the consortium made a few revisions in order to comply with requirements. It was given a go-signal by a regulatory body in November 2019.

However, the group had to review their proposal again and assess the project's viability after the coronavirus pandemic battered the travel industry, airlines' operations and airport passenger traffic this year.

But the government was unwilling to accept most of their revisions.

On Thursday, the Department of Transportation announced it had terminated its negotiations with the consortium, which included six top conglomerates in the country and Singapore’s Changi Airports International Pte. Ltd. as the project’s technical partner.

“The NAIA Consortium expressed that they will have difficulty obtaining financing for the NAIA Rehabilitation Project under the terms and conditions approved by the Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) and the NEDA Board,” it said in a statement.

The NAIA upgrading project is part of the government’s mammoth infrastructure program Build, Build, Build.

The administration of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is seeking to accelerate the construction of projects under the program as one of the key measures to help revive the country’s economy which suffered in the coronavirus pandemic.

NAIA significantly increased more international flights after reopening Terminal 3 on July 8.

Global air travel is among the sectors grappling with the severe impact of the pandemic.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said the airline industry is expected to lose $84.3 billion in 2020. IATA forecasts Asia to suffer the “largest absolute losses” this year.