Manila Airport Upgrade Lures Two Groups as Tycoons Back Out

Two groups are interested in upgrading the Philippines’ main airport in Manila after a consortium of tycoons said its 102 billion-peso ($2.1 billion) proposal was no longer bankable amid the pandemic.

“There are two more who are interested in the project at the terms we have indicated,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said at a virtual press briefing on Wednesday. “We are not worried about it.”

Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc., Ayala Corp., Alliance Global Group Inc., LT Group Inc., Filinvest Development Corp., and JG Summit Holdings Inc. on Tuesday said they could only push forward with the airport project under revised terms the group proposed which the government rejected.

Negotiations with the consortium has been terminated and its original proponent status has been revoked, the Department of Transportation said in a statement on Thursday.

Meanwhile, San Miguel Corp. is proceeding with its 734-billion-peso plan to build what would be the nation’s largest airport in Bulacan province, Dominguez said. Construction is expected to start this year and finish within four to six years, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar said at the briefing.

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  • No other proponents of big-ticket infrastructure projects have asked to renegotiate terms so far, but the government is willing to review them on a case to case basis, Dominguez said
  • The 72-year-old Manila airport saw passenger volume hit 45 million in 2018, well beyond its capacity of 31 million
  • In 2018, a venture of Megawide Construction Corp. and GMR Infrastructure Ltd. submitted a proposal for the Manila airport, challenging the tycoons’ bid

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