Megawide GMR replaces NAIA Consortium in airport rehab project

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 17) – The ​developer of the Clark and Mactan-Cebu airports has been named as the newcontractor poised to upgrade the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, it announced Friday.

The tandem of Megawide Construction Corporation and India-based GMR Infrastructure Limited (Megawide-GMR) said they have been officially given original proponent status for the NAIA rehabilitation plan, the company said in a disclosure.

Megawide GMR also designed and built the passenger terminals of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport which opened in June 2018. Meanwhile, the new terminal of the Clark International Airport is nearly complete and is expected to boost capacity to up to 12 million travelers per year when it opens in the next six months.

RELATED: Mactan-Cebu International Airport bags award at World Architecture Festival

Just days ago, the so-called NAIA Consortium, which has been in talks with the government for two years now about the project, was stripped of the right to develop the country's biggest gateway after they again revised their pitch to the Department of Transportation. Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III then said that two other groups have submitted proposals to upgrade NAIA, which has been heavily congested prior to lockdowns due to the pandemic.

The NAIA Consortium is composed of Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc.; AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp.; Alliance Global Group, Inc.; Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp.; Filinvest Development Corp.; and JG Summit Holdings, Inc. Tycoon Manny Pangilinan's Metro Pacific Investments Corporation said in March that it will leave the NAIA Consortium, citing issues with real property taxes. 

The original contract price for the NAIA rehab plan was set at ₱350 billion for a 35-year concession period, but was scaled down to ₱102 billion for a 15-year deal.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade earlier said that they are modeling the rehabilitation plan for the country’s main gateway after the Clark International Airport which Megawide-GMR built, as the two gateways need to maintain daily operations while repair works are underway. He once threatened to cancel the project as the consortium seemed to be taking too long with its final pitch.

The global coronavirus crisis has paralyzed air travel and tourism for months now, with major airlines abroad going bottom up. Local operators Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia have resorted to layoffs to keep their businesses afloat.

Megawide's takeover is still subject to regulatory approvals and a Swiss challenge — or a call to other contractors if they are interested to build the same project at a cheaper or more favorable terms — before they can officially bag the project and break ground.