Megawide confident of clinching P109-B NAIA rehab

Published November 16, 2020, 5:18 PM

by Emmie V. Abadilla

Megawide GMR is submitting the financial requirements of its P109 billion rehabilitation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) board within this week and hopes to wrap up the project by first quarter, 2021, top executives disclosed Monday (Nov. 16) in a press briefing.

So far, Megawide’s only issue with NEDA was financial capability, according to Chairman Edgar Saavedra. 

“We were only looking at Phase 1 because we used to do the financing in phases. But NEDA wants us to comply with the full amount of P109 Billion for 10 years, that’s why we brought in (our partner) GMR,” he explained.

Phase 1 and 2 of their proposed NAIA rehabilitation covers 4 years of the 10-year project and costs P20 Billion.

No problem though. Local and overseas investors are keen on funding the project.

“We are positive that we can raise the financial requirement,” Saavedra stressed.

The most crucial part is the approval of the NEDA board, he acknowledged.

The last two steps, the submission of the project to the cabinet within this year and the Swiss challenge within the first quarter of 2021, will just be “procedural”, the Chairman pointed out.

Megawide has fully complied with all the rest of the requirements, except for financial capability, which the company will address this week.

Its partner, GMR, which will also be the airport operator of NAIA, will be “happy to support Megawide” in this regard, confirmed Andrew Harrison, Mactan Cebu International Airport Chief Executive Advisor.

“GMR and Megawide have strong balance sheets. Working together, we can comply with the requirement,” acquiesced Louie B. Ferrer, Megawide Executive Director for Infrastructure.

Megawide has a 60 per cent stake in the project, while GMR has 40 per cent. 

GMR Megawide will have a concession period of 25 years, the same terms as the previous proponent, once the project is approved.

One difference in the GMR Megawide proposal is in the transport modes offered – a bus rapid transport system to transport passengers to different terminals for phase 1 and an elevated railway for phase 2 of the project.

Phase 1 will focus on reducing  the airside congestion of NAIA as well as eliminating delays.

The proponent will reconfigure the check-in area and rehabilitate the runway, among other things.

Phase 2 covers the construction of a new passenger terminal, relocation of the cargo terminal to access the new passenger terminal without disrupting operations.

Throughout the rehabilitation of the NAIA, passengers should experience no delays. 

“We are confident we can deliver that,” the executives declared.

They intend to make NAIA’s single runway more efficient to allow for more aircraft movement.

And while designers are incorporating a Banaue Rice Terraces theme to enhance passenger experieNce in NAIA, they have no plans to replace the existing design by national artist Leandro Locsin.

Their  job, they summed up, is “to maintain, upgrade and enhance to make NAIA at par with world-class airports”.