Neda ICC to look into viability of SMC’s ‘aerotropolis’ proposal
By Ben O. de Vera
Philippine Daily Inquirer
February 9, 2018 at 5:20 am

Economic managers will again discuss today the financial viability of the “aerotropolis” proposed by San Miguel Corp. before deciding on the unsolicited project proposal.

National Economic and Development Authority Assistant Secretary Jonathan L. Uy said that in Thursday’s Neda Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) technical board meeting, they decided to elevate discussions on the proposal to build the New Manila International Airport to the special Neda ICC Cabinet Committee (CabCom) meeting Friday.

Economic managers earlier said they were open to San Miguel’s pitch to build another airport near Metro Manila as long as it would be financially viable.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III noted in an interview with reporters recently that most megacities around the world were being served by multiple airports.

As such, SMC’s proposal to build an airport in Bulacan was welcome, as the Ramon Ang-led conglomerate no longer eyes to replace the Ninoy Aquino International Airport as the country’s main gateway, Dominguez, who cochairs the Neda ICC CabCom, had said.

“We want to take a look at what the break-even point is—what level of passengers will be the break-even point to determine whether it’s viable,” the Finance chief had said.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia had also told reporters that the Department of Finance wanted to know the fiscal and financial implications of the project.

“There were questions on the financial rate of return. What is its basis—does it include income only from the airport, or also the extra?” according to Pernia, who heads the state planning agency Neda and also cochairs the ICC.

The Neda chief had noted that SMC’s proposal was not just an airport but a so-called “aerotropolis” or a metropolis revolving around an airport.

SMC’s unsolicited proposal, which was earlier awarded an original proponent status, is currently being evaluated by the Neda ICC.

The P700-billion new international aerotropolis being pitched by SMC to the Department of Transportation would involve a massive airport spanning 1,168 hectares as well as city complex to be built at a 2,500-hectare location along Manila Bay in Bulacan town.

The proposed airport project would have six parallel runways and an initial capacity of 100 million passengers or over three times that of Naia.

It was proposed under a build-operate-transfer scheme, 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.

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