Potential investors willing to pursue NAIA rehab — Dominguez

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the government is not worried about the NAIA rehabilitation plan after a group of investors, made up of the country’s largest conglomerates, decided to abandon the already approved P102 billion infrastructure project.

The government is “in conversations” with  two other groups that are willing fill the vacuum left by the so-called “super consortium” for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) rehabilitation project, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.“I got a copy of the letter of the NAIA consortium, saying that the current economic situation is such that they are not confident that they can finance the project, or that they cannot push through with it,” Dominguez told reporters.

On Tuesday, members of the NAIA consortium announced that their “adjusted” proposal to rehabilitate and upgrade the facilities of the ageing NAIA had been rejected by authorities.

The NAIA consortium explained that adjustments in their proposal were necessary to ensure the “bankability” of the project in wake of the coronavirus crisis.

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“The far-reaching and long-lasting consequences of the coronavirus pandemic on airline travel, airline operations and airport passenger traffic necessitated a review of the assumptions and plans to ensure that the NAIA project will be viable in the ‘new normal,’” they said.

“Unfortunately, the government indicated that it is not willing to accept most of the consortium’s proposed options and the consortium can only move forward with the NAIA project under the options it has proposed,” the group added.
Despite this unfavorable development, Dominguez disclosed that Transport Secretary Arthur P. Tugade and Presidential Adviser for Flagship Programs and Projects Vivencio Dizon were in “conversations” with two other potential investors in the NAIA rehabilitation plan.

“These two other proponents are willing to get into an agreement with the government which are very similar to the terms of the agreement between the project proponents in Clark Airbase, and in the Clark Airport,” Dominguez said.

“We’re not worried about it. We believe that these other two proponents are willing to step up to the plate here,” he added.

The NAIA consortium is composed of Ayala Corp., Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Alliance Global Group Inc., Asia Emerging Dragon, Filinvest Development, JG Summit and Metro Pacific Investments Corp.

The P102-billion proposal involves expanding and interconnecting the existing terminals of NAIA, upgrading airside facilities, developing commercial facilities to increase airline and airport efficiencies, enhancing passenger comfort and experience and elevating the status of Naia as the country’s premier international gateway.

The project aims to increase capacity up to 100 million passengers per year from about 40 million passengers last year.