(UPDATE) ABOUT P141 billion will be needed to upgrade and modernize the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

The amount was specified in the terms and conditions that the Department of Transportation (DoTr) and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) submitted to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for the proposed privatization of the country's premier airport, Transportation Undersecretary for Aviation Airports Roberto Lim said during a briefing on Thursday.

Lim said the government has prepared a detailed proposal to make sure that the private proponent has the capacity to take on the role of NAIA concessionaire.

"You have to remember that NAIA is the main gateway of the Philippines and we really need to catch up with improving it, modernizing it using innovations and technology as the new features of our airport complex," Lim said.

One of the main objectives of privatizing NAIA is to increase the capacity of its terminals, he said.

NAIA can handle around 33 million passengers annually.

In 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic, nearly 48 million passengers passed through NAIA. Last year, 30 million used NAIA as their gateway.

This year, NAIA expects to provide its services to nearly 32 million.

But by 2025, Lim said the DoTr sees at least 53 million passengers passing through the airport.

"We really need to expand and that is one of the objectives of using the PPP (public-private partnership) as the mode of privatizing NAIA," he said.

What was submitted to NEDA are the basic terms for the public bidding, Lim said.

"We have suggested that anybody who is interested in joining the bidding will have to pay P30 billion to the government," he said. "The government will also continue to have a share in the revenue equivalent to around P30 billion per year. So these are all included in the terms and conditions. That is one package required."

Lim clarified that privatizing NAIA does not mean that the government is selling it.

"We will just give a franchise to the winning bidder with the right to operate, the right to rehabilitate," he said.

Lim cited Mactan-Cebu International Airport as an example of such an arrangement between the government and the private sector.

The airport is managed by the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority and operated by the GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation.

Aside from rehabilitating, managing, and operating the Mactan airport, the private partner is also responsible for marketing the airport.

"It is not just technical responsibility but also marketing responsibility because they are also responsible for promoting a destination and that is heavy work because you just do not sit inside an office, you have to go out to promote not just the airport but also the province Cebu, not just the province but also the region of the Visayas," Lim said. "This is the model that we will use for [NAIA]."

The DoTr and MIAA also specified the need for the future NAIA private partner to use technology as part of operations so that the "processing of passengers should be fast and smooth," he said.

"Even managing the movement of airplanes, a lot of it should be digital also," Lim said.

He said they are on a tight schedule and expect to finish the privatization of NAIA by the first quarter of 2024.

2023-06-08T16:49:26Z dg43tfdfdgfd