NAIA Privatization Set to be Completed in 2024

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The privatization of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), one of the largest projects undertaken by the Philippine government in the aviation sector, is on track to be completed within the year, according to Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista. In a recent statement, Secretary Bautista announced that the selection of the private operator for NAIA will be finalized in the coming weeks.

Several consortiums have expressed their interest in participating in the bidding process for the P170.6-billion NAIA Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project. These consortiums include The Manila International Airport Consortium, SMC SAP and Company Consortium, GMR Airports Consortium, and Asian Airport Consortium. Each consortium brings together a range of expertise and resources to ensure the successful operation of NAIA.

To ensure transparency and fairness, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) plans to open the technical proposals of the bidders by January 15. The evaluation process will be completed by February 4, followed by the opening of the financial proposals. The announcement of the winning bidder is expected to be made by February 14, with the notice of award to be issued the following day.

The signing of the contract between the private operator and the government is set to take place on March 15. This process adheres to the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 6957, as amended by RA 7718, commonly known as the “Build-Operate-and-Transfer Law (BOT Law) and its Revised 2022 Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).”

The NAIA PPP Project, with an estimated cost of P170.6 billion, aims to enhance the overall passenger experience and increase the airport’s annual capacity from the current 32 million to at least 62 million. Additionally, the project aims to improve air traffic movement from 40 to 48 flights per hour.

The need for this project arises from long-standing issues at NAIA, such as the inadequate capacity of passenger terminal buildings and restricted aircraft movement. Currently, NAIA has a capacity of around 33 million passengers per year. In 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic, the airport recorded nearly 48 million passengers. By 2025, it is projected that at least 53 million passengers will be passing through NAIA.

Despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic, flight records for 2023 at NAIA have surpassed pre-pandemic levels, according to the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA). In 2023, NAIA handled a total of 279,953 flights, consisting of 171,605 domestic and 108,348 international flights. These figures represent a 26 percent increase compared to 2022 and a 3 percent increase from 2019.

The progress made in the bidding process and the anticipated completion of the privatization of NAIA signify a significant milestone for the Philippine aviation sector. The involvement of private operators is expected to bring about improvements in infrastructure and services, ultimately enhancing the overall airport experience for travelers. As the project moves forward, the government remains committed to ensuring a fair and transparent process that aligns with local laws and regulations.

In conclusion, the privatization of NAIA is progressing as planned, with the selection of the private operator expected to be finalized in the coming weeks. This project represents a significant step towards addressing the long-standing issues at NAIA and improving the overall passenger experience. With the anticipated increase in capacity and improved infrastructure, NAIA is poised to meet the growing demands of air travel in the Philippines.

Source: The Manila Times

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