CIAC slates bidding for P6.5 billion Clark airport terminal

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    Solon raises ‘questionable’ provisions in Terms of Reference, asks for deferment

    CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga- The Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) announced yesterday that it is ready to bid this Monday to 11 interested foreign and local companies the construction of a state-of-the-art, P6.5-billion terminal at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) here.

    Vowing “transparency” in the bidding process, CIAC officials invited media to witness the bidding for the new terminal which Pres. Arroyo wants finished before her term ends in 2010. The bidding will be held at 1 p.m. at the Mimosa convention center in this freeport.
    In a press briefing, however, Pampanga’s first district Rep. Carmelo Lazatin urged CIAC to defer the bidding until “questionable” provisions in the terms of reference (TOR) for the terminal project are resolved.

    He noted typographical errors that reduced the project cost to only P6.4 million instead of billion as well as the alleged lack of assurance that the winning bidder would be the most qualified to guarantee annual payment based on the number of passengers per year.

    “All I want is that all issues be clarified to the detail so that the project could push through without anyone seeking a temporary restraining order from the courts,” Lazatin said.
    But CIAC executive vice president Alexander Cauguiran downplayed Lazatin’s fears that the government would be at a disadvantage.

    He told Punto! that under the TOR which the interested bidders bought for P250,000 each, the bidder is supposed to pay the CIAC an ”upfront fee” of P100 million, a minimum guaranteed annual payment (MGAP) based on the number of airport passengers per year, and at least P6.5 billion to be used for designing, constructing, managing and operating the new terminal.

    He said the P6.5 billion was a ballpark figure.

    “Even if the winning bidder offers P8 billion for the design and construction requirement and spends only P6 billion, the remaining P2 billion will not go to its coffers but to a joint venture (JV) company to be formed,” he said.

    Cauguiran said that under the TOR, CIAC will own 30 percent of the JV company without spending anything for the new terminal. The JV company will have a 30-year lifespan, subject to renewal for another 10 years, he added.

    “The construction will not be limited to the terminal only, but will include apron extension good enough for seven million passengers yearly, expansion of roads to four lanes around the airport, the installation of weather and instrument landing systems, and all other things needed in the terminal,” Cauguiran explained.

    Lazatin cited reports that the number of interested bidders has been reduced to only nine, this was debunked by CIAC officials who confirmed 11 bidders, including companies from Singapore, Korea, China and the Middle East. Local bidders include F.F. Cruz & Co., Inc. and the Ayala Group.

    F.F. Cruz Marketing Manager Joey V Mamuyac was reported to have confirmed the company’s bid for the terminal, adding that it has tapped a partner for the project. He declined to give more details about the bid.

    CIAC president and chief executive officer Victor Jose Luciano said the winning bidder will have a 70 percent stake in the terminal, while the CIAC will hold the remaining stake.
    Construction of the airport will start 45 days after the winning bidder has been determined so that the terminal could be made operational by February 2010.

    “The new terminal will increase Clark’s capacity to nine million (passengers) from the current two million capacity,” Luciano told reporters. This year alone, passenger volume in DMIA is expected to reach 800,000.

    Arroyo had designated the DMIA as the Philippines’ premier international gateway amid congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.

    Luciano said the new terminal would complement an existing one which was left behind by the US military which used to be based at Clark. The existing terminal was expanded only recently to accommodate two million passengers a year.

    The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said the airport system in Manila, consisting of the old domestic terminal, and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminals 1 and 2 are used by more than 20 million passengers yearly which is above their designed capacity of 18 million.

    The opening of the NAIA-3 increased the capacity of the Manila airport system by 13 million more, but the terminal still relies on the old runways.

    Luciano said the Clark terminal could be an alternative to the Manila airport, especially for passengers coming from Northern and Central Luzon. He said the region is the second richest area in the country next to the greater Metro Manila area.
    Luciano said the country’s airport terminals would be comparable to those of New York, London and Bangkok, which all have multiple terminals.

    Earlier, Gokongwei-led Cebu Pacific announced that it was setting up a hub in Clark.
    Cebu Air, Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Lance Y. Gokongwei was quoted as saying that starting Nov. 8, two European-made ATR aircraft would start flying out of the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport daily for Hong Kong and Singapore, four times weekly to Macau and thrice weekly to Bangkok. All flights will have return trips to Clark.
    Cebu Air is also expected to establish a P2-billion heavy aircraft maintenance facility in Clark in a joint venture with a Singaporean firm to cater to medium- to long-haul, narrow- and wide-bodied jets.

    Aside from its ATR aircraft, the airline will also base one of its 18 $40-million Airbus jets in Clark for international flights.

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