Some of the Country’s Conglomerates Want to Upgrade NAIA

A proposal has already been submitted by some of the country’s biggest conglomerates to upgrade NAIA into a world-class airport.

Located along the border between Pasay and Parañaque cities in Metro Manila, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is one of the busiest airports in the Philippines, with passenger traffic of 10,855,332 as of March 2023 alone and 30,912,162 total for 2022. According to the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), this is “a 158% increase over the 4,200,575 passengers that traveled through the country’s primary gateway in the first three months of 2022.”

Given the high foot traffic, it is important to ensure the quality of the airport’s appearance, service, and more. That being said, a mega consortium that includes the company’s biggest conglomerates, as well as a US-based infrastructure investment company, has submitted an unsolicited proposal to upgrade the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

The aim of the proposal? To upgrade NAIA and turn it into a world-class airport. 

Who is Part of the Mega Consortium?

According to the Inquirer, the PHP 100 billion proposal was submitted by the Manila International Airport Consortium (MIAC). The following companies are part of the consortium:

  • Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc.
  • AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp.
  • Alliance Global-Infracorp Development Inc.
  • Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp. of the Lucio Tan Group
  • Filinvest Development Corp. (FDC)
  • Global Infrastructure Partners
  • JG Summit Infrastructure Holdings Corp. 

The submission of the proposal came just days after Department of Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista confirmed that the government does have plans to privatize the operation and maintenance of NAIA.

“The consortium is confident that with additional financial resources as well as operating process and technology improvements, NAIA can achieve that vision,” added MIAC director Josephine Gotianun Yap, the president and CEO of FDC.

The Urgency of the Expansion

MIAC explains that it wants to double NAIA’s passenger capacity to 62.5 million a year by 2028. The number is at 31 million as of press time. MIAC has likewise noted that NAIA already breached 48 million passengers as of 2019, saying that this highlights the urgency of the expansion it is proposing. 

“As the only large-scale operating gateway airport to the Philippines, the modernization and long-term sustainability of NAIA is a critical development priority for both the country’s public and private sectors,” says MIAC Director and Alliance Global CEO Kevin Tan. 

Air Travel Industry in the Philippines in Numbers

According to a report by the Manila Bulletin, there are a total of 90 airports in the country as of writing. Only half of them operate commercial flights and out of them, only nine are international airports. NAIA is one of the nine. 

Given that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is expecting a return to profitability for the global airline industry this year, the projected revenue in the flight segment is expected to reach $6.42 billion (approximately PHP 358.68 billion).  

With air travel expected to spike this year, our country’s airports, particularly NAIA, play a vital role in helping the travel industry recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is therefore critical that efforts are made to improve what is often described as one of the worst and most stressful airports in the entire world.