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AIRPORT DEVELOPER SAYS
Clark-NAIA dual gateway makes best option for PHL
By Ashley Manabat

Apr 10, 2018

CLARK FREEPORT -- The best option for the Philippines’ aviation scene would be to build a gateway in this freeport complex as a main entry for all international travels and to rehabilitate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as a potential secondary airport in the future, an official of a consortium vying for the right to redevelop the NAIA said.

Speaking before the Capampangan in Media Inc. (Cami) forum at the Clark Freeport in Pampanga last Friday, Andrew Harrison, chief executive advisor at Megawide-GMR consortium, said having the NAIA and Clark operate as twin international gateways to spread air and passenger traffic and thereby ease their respective loads would be the best option for the Philippines.

“The best option would be to give priority to building an express rail link between the two airports,” he suggested.

‘Sustainable multi-airport system’

Listed construction and engineering fi rm Megawide Construction Corp. and its consortium partner Bangalore-based GMR Infrastructure Ltd. submitted last month a $3-billion unsolicited proposal for the rehabilitation and decongestion of the NAIA.

Harrison said the proposal is “aligned with the government’s strategy to develop a sustainable multi-airport system in the Philippines.” The consortium was also recently awarded the Engineering Procurement Construction contract for upgrading Clark International Airport. The contract value is P9.36 billion, around 25 percent lower than the government budget of P12.55 billion. Completion is expected by 2020.

Currently, Megawide-GMR is building Terminal 2 of the Mactan- Cebu International Airport, a previously obscure facility that has become the CAPA - Center for Aviation 2016 Best Regional Airport in Asia Pacific. The Indian infrastructure firm and airport operator GMR claims of transforming Delhi International Airport, once rated among the world’s worst airports, into being No. 1 in the Airport Service Quality survey of Airports Council International.

“As an experienced private operator, we have a deep understanding of the problem experienced by the NAIA and we would like to off er our take on the solution,” Harrison said.

In its proposal, pegged at $3 billion, GMR-Megawide plans to construct full-length parallel taxiways for both of the NAIA’s runways, construct an additional rapid-exit taxiway for the primary runway, extend the secondary runway, and provide the maximum number of aircraft stands.

GMR-Megawide said the solutions will increase airfield capacity to 950 to 1,000 aircraft movements per day, a 30-percent to 35-percent increase from the current 730 aircraft daily. For peak hours, the consortium will increase the NAIA’s aircraft-handling capacity by 50 percent, or from the current 40 percent to 60 percent.

Within 24 months of taking over operations, the consortium also plans to rehabilitate and expand the existing terminals, which will roughly double the space and result in over 700,000 square meters of terminal area.

Once completed, both the airside facilities and the terminals will be able to handle a total annual throughput of 72 million passengers. GMR-Megawide also proposed an 18-year concession term for the NAIA.

GMR - Megawide submitted the proposal weeks after seven of the biggest Philippine companies filed a P350-billion proposal to rehabilitate the NAIA and tapped the assistance of Singapore’s Changi airport.

Members of the socalled super consortium are conglomerates Metro Pacific Investments Corp., Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc., Alliance Global Group Inc., Ayala Corp., Filinvest Development Corp., JG Summit Holdings Inc. and LT Group Inc.

Rebuilding Clark airport

Answering questions at the Cami open forum, Harrison said Megawide- GMR’s winning of the Engineering Procurement Construction contract for Clark International Airport (CIA) has paved the way for their upcoming bid for operation and management contract for the same facility.

“The development of the CIA is an urgent one, as it is integral to the government’s multi-airport strategy, and vital to decongesting the country’s capital airport,” he explained.

Harrison said the consortium’s proposal for NAIA, under a build-operate- transfer scheme submitted on March 1 to the Department of Transportation, aims to boost the capacity and efficiency of the gateway by addressing the airport’s main problem of limited airfield capacity.

The consortium, likewise, plans to double passenger-handling capacity to 60 million passengers per annum in four years and to 72 million in six years upon start of construction.

He explained the reason behind the consortium’s shorter concession term of 18 years.

“The term will balance two objectives: providing flexibility and time for government to refine its multi-airport system strategy while addressing the NAIA’s immediate problems,” he said.

No government subsidy He added that the consortium is collaborating with Mitre, a US based expert with decades of experience in maximizing aircraft handling capacities at cross-runway airports, which are common in the United States and similar to the NAIA.

He, likewise, stressed that the Megawide-GMR proposal does not entail any subsidy, equity or guarantee from the government, in full compliance with the BOT law.

“Valued at P150 billion, our project is structured in such a way that all assets will be handed over to the government, free of cost, at the end of the concession term,” he said.




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