NAIA privatization TOR for completion by first quarter 2023

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NAIA privatization TOR for completion by first quarter 2023
  • The Ninoy Aquino International Airport privatization terms of reference may be competed by the first quarter of 2023
  • Under the TOR, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista promised to ensure recovery of investment and a reasonable rate of return for the private operator during the concession period
  • The TOR will include the rehabilitation of NAIA

The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) privatization terms of reference (TOR) may be competed by the first quarter of 2023, according to the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista, in a media gathering on December 28, said they are working with the Asian Development Bank to prepare the TOR.

This time around, Bautista said they will see to it DOTr will “attend to the requirement of the private sector that [their] investment will be worth it.”

Previous unsolicited proposals to rehabilitate and operate the country’s main gateway did not push through due to concerns over financial viability of the operator’s investment.

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Bautista said some companies have already signified their interest for the project.

“I told them tapusin muna natin yung (let’s finish the) terms of reference (to) define what we want for the airport,” noting that the facility should conform to global standards.

Included in the TOR is the rehabilitation of NAIA, which Bautista acknowledges requires much improvement.

One of these improvements, for example, is the availability of public utility vehicles that can service passengers, especially in Terminal 3, which caters to domestic flights.

Bautista said there are areas that can be redeveloped, such as the parking spaces and an area in Terminal 3 that can be converted into a multi-level parking facility; the baggage handling system should also be fully automated instead of the current semi-manual operations.

To ease congestion in some terminals, DOTr is looking at reassigning some airlines as well as constructing a low-cost terminal.

He said these improvements should be done before a new airport close to Manila becomes operational.

Bautista said it is possible NAIA may be shut down and converted into another kind of facility if demand dwindles with the operation of new airports outside the metro. San Miguel Corp. is building the New Manila International Airport in Bulacan for completion in 2026, at the earliest.

Under the TOR, the transport chief promised to ensure recovery of investment and a reasonable rate of return for the private operator during the concession period.

Still, Bautista is not discounting the possibility that NAIA will remain operational as its “very good location” could continue to attract high passenger volumes. He likened the situation to Haneda and Narita airports both located in Tokyo, Japan, pointing out that the construction of Narita airport did not take volume away from Haneda, and even increased it.

Bautista said a new operator does not mean Manila International Airport Authority personnel will lose their jobs. He noted MIAA will remain as the regulator and employees with regulatory functions can be retained while those in operations may be absorbed by the new private operator. – Roumina Pablo