US firm bags P1.3-B airport rescue, firefighting supply deal

By Lawrence Agcaoili, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 24 2014 09:32 AM | Updated as of Feb 24 2014 05:32 PM

MANILA, - The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has awarded a P1.3-billion contract to Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Corp. for the supply of 41 brand new aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicles.

CAAP director general William Hotchkiss III said the agency’s board of directors unanimously approved the procurement of 41 units of brand new industrial type airport rescue firefighting vehicles to boost the firefighting capability of major commercial airports in the country.

Hotchkiss said the government is upgrading fire trucks and other communication equipment and facilities on government-run airports to conform to global aviation standards.

CAAP operates 81 airports with 41 handling commercial flights. These commercial airports had an inventory of 97 fire trucks with acquisition date as far back as 1968 with 17 units out of commission due to lack of spare parts.

The working 80 fire trucks on CAAP inventory had an average year acquisition of 20 years and last year, three new ARFF were added with 6,000 to 13,000-liter capacity.

Hotchkiss pointed out the deployment of the newly acquired ARFF is part of the upgrading of the Emergency Services Unit of CAAP on all major airports in the country in compliance to the International Civil Authority Organization (ICAO), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Union international standards for aircraft and rescue fighting requirements.

He added that the new ARFFs complied with an independent international third party certification agency that the product meets and exceeds all National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), FAA and ICAO international standards for aircraft and rescue fighting.

CAAP placed the tender for the purchase of 41 units of custom-built ARFFs through a competitive bidding; four units of 6x6 trucks with 12,000-liter water capacity and 37 units of 4x4 with 6,000 liters capacity.

With the delivery of the brand new equipment, Hotchkiss said the CAAP now is at par with other airports in the region.

Earlier, a Spanish group sued CAAP officials before the Office of the Ombudsman after it was disqualified from participating in the airport fire truck procurement project.

Iturri S.A., partner Protec Fire S.A. also of Spain and local partner Palmer Asia gave the lowest bid for the project but were disqualified after failing to comply with the terms of reference (TOR).

Iturri submitted the lowest bid of P984.2 million, below CAAP’s approved budget of P1.239 billion, while Oshkosh gave an offer of P1.163 billion.

However, the Spanish firm failed to pass the post-qualification evaluation as Iturri’s fire trucks had commercial chassis as against the custom-made or non-commercial chassis required for the project.