Unprecedented move: Super consortium puts forward P57B upfront payment for NAIA upgrade

The Manila International Airport Consortium (MIAC), composed of the country’s biggest conglomerates, is offering a P57 billion upfront payment to the government for the rehabilitation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport over a 25-year period.

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“The P57 billion concession payment would be the largest upfront concession payment offered to the government for a transportation public-private partnership,” said Ayala Corp. president and CEO Cezar Consing.

Aboitiz InfraCapital president and CEO Cosette Canilao said the consortium is unaware of the government’s P141-billion plan to rehabilitate NAIA over a 15-year period. She said “the unsolicited proposal was submitted on April 27, 2023, to the Department of Transportation, and as far as the consortium is concerned, it is still under evaluation.”

The consortium declined to comment on the potential increase in passenger fees, saying that it will be discussed during the negotiation.

MIAC unveiled its plans for the rehabilitation of NAIA, a multi-phased development program costing P267 billion that aims to increase NAIA’s capacity from 31 million passengers per year to approximately 70 million by the end of the 25-year proposed concession term.

Apart from Aboitiz InfraCapital and Ayala Corp., the other members of the consortium include Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corporation, Alliance Global – Infracorp Development Inc., Filinvest Development Corporation, and JG Summit Infrastructure Holdings Corporation.

MIAC’s technical partner, Global Infrastructure Partners, is a leading global independent infrastructure fund manager known for projects such as Edinburgh Airport, Gatwick Airport, London City Airport, and Sydney Airport.

In addition to the upfront payment, MIAC plans to invest another P57 billion for rehabilitation until 2028 and an additional P154 billion from 2028 to 2048.

The consortium projects that the NAIA rehabilitation will generate P446 billion in gross economic value, including P100 billion from tourism activities and P65 billion in savings from aircraft decongestion.

GIP Partner Philip Iley, who focuses on the transport sector, NAIA is one of the world’s worst airports in terms of stress levels and passenger experience.

Former World Bank president, now GIP vice chairman Jim Yong Kim, emphasized that as a gateway airport, NAIA provides the first and last impression to travelers, and the Philippines is missing out on opportunities due to its current condition.

“The Philippines cannot be allowed to fall behind because of an underperforming gateway airport,” he said. “NAIA can and must do better,” he said.

MIAC’s plan involves process improvements and optimization to increase NAIA’s capacity to 54 planes per hour by 2025, including airfield upgrades and the implementation of better technologies,” Illey said.

By 2028, they aim to further increase capacity to 63 planes per hour through a taxiway extension, new cargo facilities, early bag storage, and the expansion of terminals 1 and 2. NAIA’s current runway capacity is 41 planes per hour.

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