MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Transportation and Communications wants to move forward with the privatization of operations and maintenance of the busy Ninoy Aquino International Airport before President Aquino steps down in 2016.
Transportation secretary Joseph Abaya said the project could be up for approval by the National Economic and Development Authority Investment Coordination Committee within the first half of 2015.
The move was in line with the broader thrust of the current administration to privatize the operations of certain services, like railways, ports and airports.
It earlier auctioned a P17.5-billion contract to expand and operate the Mactan Cebu International Airport and the DOTC is in the process of bidding out six smaller provincial airports.
Abaya had said the O&M contract of Naia, the country’s busiest airport, having handled over 32 million passengers last year, could be auctioned under a public-private partnership structure.
It was not immediately clear if the Naia project would include planned expansion activities, including a fifth passenger terminal building that Abaya said the DOTC was currently studying.
The planned Naia O&M contract also comes ahead of a new international gateway being studied by the government in Sangley Point, Cavite.
That project, however, is not expected to be completed before 2025, if pursued, Abaya said.
The new Sangley airport is estimated by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) to have a development cost of P435.9 billion.
It is deemed crucial in meeting the capital region’s passenger demand, seen to more than triple to 101.4 million in 2040 from 31.9 million in 2012.
The Sangley International Airport will be able to handle about 55 million passengers a year when it opens in 2025, which together with the existing Naia will be enough to meet the area’s estimated demand of 59.1 million, Jica said. The Sangley facility could eventually be expanded to handle 130 million passengers annually by 2050, it said.
Jica estimated that the Naia was nearing its estimated maximum capacity of 35 million passengers a year, seen to be breached in 2015.
“As a rule of thumb, Naia would totally be capacity-saturated in 2015 and not be able to cater to the increasing passenger demand anymore,” it said.
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