Bidding for DMIA terminal still open

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    CLARK FREEPORT – Despite the offer of the Kuwaiti Al Kharafi Group to Pres. Arroyo to develop a $1.2-billion aviation facility reportedly including a new terminal at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) here, other interested parties are still welcome to bid for the terminal project.

    This according to Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) President-CEO Victor Jose Luciano.

    Luciano, in a text message sent to Punto from Singapore where is attending air talks, said the DMIA terminal project has not yet been committed. “We are still accepting proposals (from bidders),” he noted.

    The President arrived yesterday from a five-day trip to Egypt and Syria where she was able to obtain the support of the two countries for the Philippines ’ bid for observer status in the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) and secure potential investments worth over $1 billion.

    Her first stop was at Marsa Alam in Egypt where she met Kuwaiti billionaire Nasser Al-Kharafi, who expressed interest in putting up a $1.2-billion aviation facility in Clark.

    A source from CIAC who asked not to be quoted noted, however, that Al Kharafi’s Al Mal firm had already earlier proposed to construct the terminal but this was rejected as being “onerous” by the CIAC’s joint venture special committee (JVSC).

    The source corrected published reports saying that the Pacific Avia Group, Inc. (PAGI) is under the Al Kharafi Group. “What’s under Al Kharafi is the Al Mal company whose bid for the terminal construction was rejected already,” the source said.

    Earlier, CIAC issued press releases that seemed to favor the proposal of PAGI for the terminal project, after the offers of several other bidders were rejected by the JVSC as being inferior.

    Another ranking CIAC official disclosed that Al Mal’s proposal was rejected as being onerous, as the Kuwaiti firm wanted control over wide areas of the aviation complex at Clark and that it did not want to accept responsibility should it opt to withdraw from the terminal project anytime.

    In an earlier press release, CIAC revealed PAGI’s foreign partners as Selex, Egis and Leighton, while their local partners are A.M. Oreta Construction Company, DHL Philippines, DRI Holdings, EGIS AVIA S.A., Pentagon Development Corporation, the Bank of Commerce, and, Castillo Laman Tan Pantaleon & San Jose. There was no mention of any links with Al Kharafi.

    CIAC initially put in place the so-called competitive challenge scheme to choose the contractor for the terminal. Under the scheme, interested contractors are to submit their project proposals to the CIAC which picks out the best offer.. The offer is then allowed to be challenged by more interested parties until the best is finally chosen. The scheme, the first to be implemented in the country, was approved by the Office of Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC).

    The contractor for the terminal would also enter into a joint venture with CIAC for the operation of the new terminal at a 70-30 partnership, with CIAC getting the 30 percent.

    A statement issued early last April by CIAC vice president for administration Romeo Dyoco said the JVSC had up to last March 28 to finish the assessment.

    “Should PAGI pass the evaluation and eligibility check, it will then face competitive challenge from other interested parties who would also offer proposals to build, finance, design and operate the P3-billion to P7-billion Terminal-2 project as a joint venture project with CIAC,” the official said.

    Clark’s present terminal at the DMIA can hold two million passengers yearly. In comparison, Manila’s airport system has a combined capacity of over 30 million passengers a year.

    The DMIA’s existing terminal, which was also upgraded recently, can accommodate from one million to two million passengers annually.

    The DMIA hosts air carriers such as Cebu Pacific Air which flies to Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok and Macau and daily to Cebu; Tiger Airways of Singapore which flies out of Clark to Singapore; Air Asia of Malaysia via Clark to Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu; Asiana Airlines of South Korea via the Clark-Incheon route with connecting flights to the United States; and, local carrier South East Asian Airlines (Seair) which flies to Caticlan en route to the world famous Boracay Island.

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