Unsolicited scheme for NAIA scrapped

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    The government will no longer pursue unsolicited proposal as the mode in rehabilitating and expanding the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) but will instead focus on improving the gateway.

    Meanwhile, construction of the Bulacan International Airport is set to start in the second quarter, according to the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

    “Even without the unsolicited proposal, we are continuing with the improvement. In fact, almost three weeks or barely three weeks when we decided no more unsolicited proposal, we upgraded and inaugurated the runway 13/31,” said Arthur Tugade, DOTr secretary, at the virtual Asia CEO forum economy update 2021.

    Last month, DOTr inaugurated NAIA’s upgraded airside facilities which aim to boost the country’s main gateway’s maximum allowable commercial flight movement capacity from 40 to 50 flight movements per hour, or a total of 240 commercial flight movements per day.

    Goddes Libiran, DOTr undersecretary, said DOTr will continue working on the improvements being done at NAIA, whether or not there is an unsolicited proposal.

    The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) board has decided not to push through with the unsolicited proposal in the meantime, Libiran said.

    Thus, DOTr has set aside the unsolicited proposals of Megawide, San Miguel Corp. (SMC) and the Philippine Airport Ground Support Solution Inc.

    Last December, MIAA revoked the original proponent status (OPS) granted to Megawide and GMR Infrastructure for their P108.75-billion unsolicited proposal for NAIA without citing specific reasons.

    Megawide filed a motion for reconsideration but has not received a response from the MIAA board.

    The OPS was granted to Megawide last July after the government’s failed negotiations with the NAIA consortium, which is composed of the country’s seven biggest conglomerates, over financial issues.

    SMC submitted a proposal to purely undertake operation and maintenance of NAIA to ensure that it operates better and more efficiently until its P740-billion Manila International Airport project in Bulacan is completed.

    Meanwhile, Tugade said the formal inauguration of Bulacan International Airport is set either next month or May.

    “We have originally set to do the groundbreaking ceremony earlier but due to the pandemic and personal issues, (it was delayed). Hopefully, we can do the formal inauguration by April or May this year,” Tugade said.

    He added there are ongoing works for the Bulacan airport even without the formal inauguration, as the project is hoped to be completed in four to six years.

    The project is intended to accommodate 100 to 200 million passengers annually.

    SMC tapped Boskalis Philippines Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Dutch firm Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V., to undertake land development works for the Bulacan airport during the first quarter of the year.