Bigger, modern, world-class airport: vision of NAIA by super-consortium

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Jose Emmanuel Reverente, (VP, Aboitiz InfraCapital) Consortium spokesperson, talks about the NAIA super consortium in this February 2018 file photo. (BERNARD TESTA, INTERAKSYON.

MANILA – A bigger, more modern, world-class and comfortable airport – that is the vision for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport by a super-consortium of some of the country’s biggest companies as they unveiled more details of their proposal on Wednesday.

The consortium counts as members Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc., AC Infrastructure Holdkngs Corp., Alliance Global Group, Inc., Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp., Filinvest Development Corp., JG Summit Holdings, Inc., and the Metro Pacific Investments Corp.

In the initial phase of the consortium’s plan, NAIA Terminals 1,2,3 and 4 will be expanded and modernized.

The second phase would develop a reclaimed area in Manila Bay to accommodate a third runway – long deemed vital to NAIA – and another terminal.

The reclaimed portion and new terminal will be connected to the existing NAIA complex by a train similar to the existing Light Rail Transit (LRT).

The super-consortium has placed a P350-billion cost estimate for the project.

Underscoring the need to expand and improve the NAIA complex, proponents noted that it accommodates right now some 41 million passengers even though its capacity is only for 31 million.

If the consortium’s plans are carried out, the NAIA’s capacity will rise to 47 million by 2020, and 65 million by 2022.

They stressed the urgency of expanding and modernizing NAIA now because of the steady rise in the number of travelers as a result of the burgeoning economy.

Allowing this state of overcapacity to continue at the airport could turn off tourists and investors, with dire impact on the economy.

Meanwhile, the consortium acknowledged that the intended improvements will go with a corresponding rise in terminal fees. The proponents stressed, though, that such fees can be regulated by government so they remain affordable to ordinary people.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has not yet given a statement on the matter.

Per the process, however, once the project is given original proponent status, an agreement will be forged as to how long the group will handle operations at the airport. This will pass through a technical board and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

However, another consortium, GMR-Megawide, had earlier also served notice they will present their own proposal for NAIA, which means the super-consortium will face a Swiss challenge.