By Denise A. Valdez, September 6 2018; Business World


Image Credit to Business Mirror

THE CONSORTIUM proposing to rehabilitate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Wednesday said it is not seeking any government guarantees in its bid to develop and expand the gateway.

The so-called “NAIA consortium,” composed of seven of the country’s biggest conglomerates, issued the statement in reaction to a concern raised by Senator Ralph G. Recto over its proposal to adjust airport terminal fees as part of the airport’s rehabilitation plan.

In a statement on Wednesday, the NAIA consortium spokesperson Jose Emmanuel “Jimbo” F. Reverente said they are not asking for any guarantee or protection from the government in its P102-billion proposal, saying terminal fees should not be counted as such as “all airport proposals have provisions for terminal fees which are subjected to reasonable adjustment during the life of the contract.”

Mr. Reverente noted the consortium is “taking all the risks including a drop in the number of passengers and consequently revenues.”

He added that “terminal fees are no different from the fares passengers pay when riding LRT (light rail transit) or when using toll roads.”

Last week, Mr. Recto said the consortium’s proposed adjustment for the terminal fee should be considered as a government guarantee, which is prohibited by the Department of Transportation (DoTr) for unsolicited proposals.

In a text message to BusinessWorld on Wednesday, Transportation Undersecretary for Planning Ruben S. Reinoso, Jr. said the government cannot assure the NAIA consortium of terminal fee adjustments.

“The proposed terminal fees will not be guaranteed by the gov’t, but will have to go through the process of public hearing before any increase can be implemented,” he said.

The NAIA consortium submitted an unsolicited proposal to the government in February to rehabilitate NAIA by increasing its terminal capacity, add a people mover that will connect the gateway’s terminals and increase the number of flights that the airport could handle.

The group is composed of the seven of the country’s top conglomerates, namely: Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc.; AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp.; Alliance Global Group, Inc.; Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp.; Filinvest Development Corp.; JG Summit Holdings, Inc. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. Its technical partner is Singapore-based Changi Airports International Private Ltd.

Last month, the DoTr submitted the proposal to the National Economic and Development Authority’s Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC) for review.

“If we get the clearance to start work by late this year, we can increase (the airport’s) capacity to 47 million by 2020 and to 65 million by 2022. There will be enough space for everybody and NAIA can serve as a catalyst for growth all over the country in terms of trade, tourism and investments,” Mr. Reverente said.

The NAIA is operating at above its capacity of 30 million passengers, recording a traffic of 42 million passengers in 2017. — Denise A. Valdez