San Miguel-led group makes top offer in airport bid

February 8, 2024 - 2:54 PM
An undated picture of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1. (Photo from Philippine News Agency)

MANILA — A consortium led by conglomerate San Miguel Corp offered to give the national government 82% of airport revenues under its bid to operate and upgrade the country’s main international airport, the transportation ministry said.

SMC SAP & Co Consortium is one of the three bidders still in the running to win a government contract to modernize the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after one of the investors, Asian Airport Consortium, was disqualified over technical issues.

The offers of the two other bidders — India’s GMR Airports Consortium and Manila International Airport Consortium, composed of the country’s richest families, were way below SMC SAP & Co’s group at 33% and 26% respectively.

The winning bidder will be announced on February 14, and the agreement, which covers a 15-year concession that is extendable by another 10 years, is expected to be signed next month.

The ageing airport, the fifth largest in Southeast Asia, needs an upgrade to solve chronic flight delays and passenger congestion.

Some travel service firms have ranked the airport as one of the worst for international business travellers and for passenger queuing times.

NAIA handled a record 48 million passengers in 2019 despite its design capacity of only 32 million passengers. The upgraded airport aims to serve at least 60 million passengers annually from the current 35 million.

Previous attempts to modernize the gateway were abandoned due to disputes between airport authorities, contractors, and potential bidders.

— Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Michael Perry