San Miguel-led group turns in top bid for NAIA ops

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Manila airport meltdown
The Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. (PHOTO: Shutterstock)

AlsimA group of companies led by San Miguel Corp offered to give the national government 82 percent of airport revenues under its bid to operate and upgrade the country’s main international airport, the transportation ministry said.

SMC SAP & Co Consortium is one of the three bidders still in the running to win a government contract to modernise the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after one of the investors, Asian Airport Consortium, was disqualified over technical issues.

The offers of the two other bidders – India’s GMR Airports Consortium and Manila International Airport Consortium, composed of the country’s richest families, were way below SMC SAP & Co’s group at 33 percent and 26 percent respectively, according to media reports. The winning bidder will be announced on 14 February. The agreement covers an initial 15 years but can be extended for 10 years after that.

The airport is the fifth largest in Southeast Asia and needs an upgrade to solve chronic flight delays and passenger congestion. NAIA handled a record 48 million passengers in 2019 despite its design capacity of only 32 million passengers. The upgraded airport aims to serve at least 60 million passengers annually from the current 35 million.

San Miguel President Ramon Ang said in a statement that the company is ready to take on the project which can have potential synergies with a 740-billion-peso airport that it’s developing in Bulacan province, north of Manila. The company aims to “create an integrated airport network” that “elevates the Philippines as a prime hub for tourism, business, and investment in the region,” Ang said in a statement.

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