State planning agency National Economic and Development Authority is seeking more clarification on how San Miguel Corp. will roll out its proposed airport project in Bulacan.
Undersecretary Rolando G. Tungpalan said that in its meeting last Thursday, the Neda Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) technical board had sought further analysis and review of the project’s financial component.
Tungpalan said it was part of Neda’s “usual due diligence” on unsolicited project proposals.
Tungpalan earlier said the Neda ICC would decide early this month whether or not it would approve SMC’s proposed “aerotropolis.”
Tungpalan had said certain assumptions vital to reaching a decision had to be amplified, such as the project’s revenue sources.
“As you know, if it’s an unsolicited project, the reasonable rate of return will be a parameter for a Swiss challenge,” Tungpalan had explained.
SMC’s unsolicited proposal, which was earlier awarded an original proponent status, is currently under evaluation by the Neda ICC.
The P700-billion new international aerotropolis being pitched by SMC to the Department of Transportation would involve the construction of a massive airport spanning 1,168 hectares and a city complex to be built on a 2,500-hectare property along Manila Bay in Bulakan town.
The proposed airport project would have six parallel runways and an initial capacity of 100 million passengers or more than three times the capacity of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
It was proposed as a build-operate-transfer project, with SMC to operate the airport under a 50-year concession. As part of the proposal, SMC will build an expressway that would link its airport to the North Luzon Expressway in Marilao, Bulacan.
SMC plans to complete the project within six years.
With its offer, SMC hopes to eventually replace Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
However, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia had said the government was open to accepting the proposal of seven of the country’s largest conglomerates to redevelop and rehabilitate the Naia.
Last year, it was reported that a “super consortium” composed of Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc., Andrew Tan’s Alliance Globe Group Inc., Ayala Corp., Gotianun-led Filinvest Development Corp., Gokongwei-led JG Summit Holdings Inc., Lucio Tan’s LT Group and Manuel V. Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp. will join forces to rehabilitate the country’s main gateway.
JG Summit and LT Group own the country’s two biggest commercial air carriers—Cebu Pacific Air and Philippine Airlines, respectively.
Just last week, state-run pension fund Social Security System and construction and infrastructure conglomerate Megawide Corp. said they were teaming up to bid for the right to rehabilitate and operate the Naia.
The Naia is suffering from worsening congestion, as its four passenger terminals serve over 42 million passengers yearly, or 40 percent more than its designed capacity.
But despite this, the government earlier announced that under its ambitious “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, improvement of the Naia will be a priority, alongside the development of the Clark International Airport as the second country’s major airport by 2020. —BEN O. DE VERA
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