Revive 2018 consortium proposal for NAIA privatization upgrade – Concepcion

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 3) — After the New Year’s Day glitch at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) that resulted in hundreds of cancelled flights, former presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion suggested reviving the 2018 proposal to form a private sector consortium to rehabilitate the airport.

According to Concepcion, founder of Go Negosyo, the rehabilitation project aims to decongest and increase the capacity of NAIA. It was to be implemented in three phases from 2021 to 2024.

“NAIA is strategically located and any improvements made here will redound to so many benefits to the country,” he said in a statement.

“I believed then, as I do now, that the private sector can contribute so much if allowed to participate,” he added.

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The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said domestic and international flights to and from NAIA on Jan. 1 were either delayed, cancelled, or diverted to other regional airports due to a power outage and technical issue in air traffic control, affecting thousands of passengers.

Concepcion said any inefficiency in the NAIA translates to big losses in business, which is felt throughout the country.

“Under the consortium’s proposal, it promised that NAIA will have a 20 per cent increase in efficiency, pushing it to become a world-class gateway on a par with the world’s best airports. In addition, there were no government guarantees, and no moratorium on the construction of another major airport,” he explained.

The proposed consortium is comprised of some of the country’s biggest conglomerates including Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc., AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., Alliance Global Group Inc., Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp., Filinvest Development Corp., JG Summit Holdings Inc., and Metro Pacific Investments Corp.

Concepcion, who was involved in the formation of the consortium, recalled that the proposal was first put forward in 2017 when the country was preparing for the ASEAN Summit.

“All of the conglomerates were interested in seeing the project push through,” said Concepcion, adding that it would have been good for air travel, real estate, and retail.

“We were all in agreement that connectivity is important, and even the tycoons who were not formally part of the group pitched in to see how they can help,” he noted

“Having seen how badly key systems in our air transportation system need to be modernized, and how severely any glitch can affect the whole country, I hope that this time, we can revive this proposal and see it through,” he added.

Concepcion also said the consortium’s unsolicited proposal was recommended for approval by the Department of Transportation to the MIAA, the primary government agency for the project.

By August 2017, the consortium secured from the government an original proponent status for its plan to rehabilitate the NAIA, and it was approved by the National Economic and Development Authority in November 2019.

In March 2020, then Transportation Secretary Art Tugade cancelled the proposal. A few months after, Concepcion said the consortium withdrew the proposal due to unresolved issues with the government.

In December 2022, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista reported that the Marcos administration would pursue the privatization of NAIA.

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