NEDA board approves P170.6 billion NAIA rehab

By Louella Desiderio, Helen Flores | The Philippine Star
July 20, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — To address issues in the country’s main gateway, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board yesterday approved the P170.6-billion Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) rehabilitation project.

During a press briefing at Malacañang, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the “solicited proposal to rehabilitate, operate, expand and transfer the NAIA” project would be undertaken through the public-private partnership (PPP) scheme.

The project, under the Department of Transportation and Manila International Airport Authority (MIAC), will cost P170.6 billion.

Balisacan said the project, targeted to commence in 2024, aims to increase the annual airport capacity from 35 million to at least 62 million passengers, enhance air traffic movement and improve overall passenger experience and service quality.

The NAIA PPP project has a concession period of 15 years and additional 10-year extension, depending on the performance of the winning bidder.

This includes improvement of all passenger terminals at the NAIA and all its facilities, including those previously identified as causes of inconvenience, Balisacan said.

“The goal of the project is to address long-standing issues at NAIA such as the inadequate capacity of passenger terminal buildings and restricted aircraft movement. It also aims to increase air traffic movement from 40 to 48 per hour,” Balisacan said.

As the government has decided to go with the solicited mode of the NAIA rehbilitaion, Balisacan is hoping that those who initially opted to submit an unsolicited proposal to the government will also participate in the solicited bidding.

In April, the Manila International Airport Consortium composed of conglomerates Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc., AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp., Alliance Global-Infracorp Development Inc., Filinvest Development Corp. and JG Summit Infrastructure Holdings Corp., and infrastructure investor Global Infrastructure Partners submitted a proposal to rehabilitate the NAIA with a project cost of P267 billion under a 25-year concession period.

“The project is expected to improve the overall passenger experience and service quality to prevent long queues, lengthy waiting time and other passenger inconveniences,” Balisacan said, adding that the awarding of the contract to the winning bidder will be done within the year.

On May 1, over 40 flights at NAIA Terminal 3 were canceled and delayed after the terminal experienced power outage for several hours.

An air traffic system failure also disrupted operations at the NAIA on Jan. 1, affecting over 56,000 passengers and more than 300 inbound and outbound flights.

A power interruption also occurred at the airport in September last year, causing long lines at immigration counters.

Balisacan said the NEDA Board, chaired by President Marcos, also approved the Samar Pacific Coastal Road II Project, with a budget of P7.48 billion.

During the inauguration of the new Light Rail Transit Line 1 4th generation light rail vehicles in Pasay yesterday, Marcos joked about the status of the country’s airports.

As Marcos was talking about the features of the light rail vehicles, he was interrupted by the sound of an airplane from the airport nearby.

“That’s a good sign (Transportation) Secretary Jimmy (Bautista)… the airport is running more efficiently than it was before,” Marcos said, drawing laughter and applause from the crowd.

Balisacan said the board also approved the upgrade, expansion, operation and maintenance of the Laguindingan International Airport Project in Misamis Oriental.

With an estimated cost of P12.75 billion, the project focuses on integrating sustainable and digitally advanced features into the design and operation of the Laguindingan International Airport.

The NEDA also approved changes in the scope, cost, design and/or loan validity of four ongoing infrastructure projects.

These included the Integrated Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation or IDRR-CCA Measures in Low-Lying Areas of Pampanga Bay Project, Jalaur River Multipurpose Project Stage II project, Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project Stage II or MMIP II and the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit Project.

Balisacan announced the proposed adoption of a national policy on infrastructure sector master plans, which aims to harmonize and rationalize the formulation of master plans for the infrastructure sector.

This policy will ensure coordination, synergy and responsiveness of the sector to emerging issues, he said.

An executive order will be issued to strengthen the implementation of this policy nationwide, Balisacan said.

Following the approval of the solicited PPP project, the MIAC said it is one with the government in the aim to revitalize and deliver a better NAIA for the country.

“Regardless of the route, we firmly believe that NAIA’s modernization requires a long-term and comprehensive solution delivered by a credible and capable party at the quickest possible time. These criteria – regardless of the approach – would best benefit NAIA and the Filipino people,” the MIAC said in a statement.