Six of the Philippines’ largest conglomerates have made a fresh 100 billion peso ($1.79 billion) bid to the government to upgrade and operate the capital city’s ageing international airport, a stock exchange disclosure showed on Thursday.
The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has been ranked among the world’s worst international travel hubs, thanks to regular flight delays and crumbling facilities. Previous attempts at an overhaul have failed due to disputes between airport authorities and contractors.
The unsolicited offer is similar to one made to the previous government by a consortium of mostly the same firms. That offer was withdrawn in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We submit this proposal united in the belief that our gateway to the world needs to represent the best of who we are as Filipinos,” Josephine Gotianun Yap, director of the Manila International Airport Consortium said in a statement.
The consortium’s proposal includes a significant upfront payment to the government and investments in new facilities and technology to transform NAIA into a world-class airport, the statement said.
After the upgrade, NAIA will be able to serve up to 62.5 million passengers a year by 2028, more than double than its current designed capacity of 31 million, said the group, which is seeking a 25-year concession.
The consortium includes units of listed conglomerates Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Filinvest Development Corp , Alliance Global, and Ayala Corp, among others.
On Jan. 1, a power outage at the airport’s air traffic control centre disrupted more than 300 flights, affecting about 65,000 passengers, while many other flights had to be rerouted around Philippine airspace.