MVP-Gokongwei team to tap int'l airport operator for Mactan proj

By Iris C. Gonzales, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 27 2013 08:08 AM | Updated as of Feb 27 2013 04:08 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The airport consortium of Manuel V. Pangilinan and John Gokongwei is in talks with world-class airport operators to join them in their bid for the P17.5-billion Mactan Cebu International Airport Project, Pangilinan said.

“We’ve talked to a range of possible airport operators,” Pangilinan told reporters on the sidelines of a financial briefing of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), the country’s biggest power distributor. Pangilinan is chairman of Meralco.

Pangilinan’s infrastructure giant Metro Pacific Investment Corp. (MPIC) and Gokongwei’s JG Summit announced on Monday the establishment of the MPIC-JGS Airport Consortium Inc. that would bid for the government’s Mactan Cebu Airport Project.

Pangilinan said it was too early to point a specific airport operator but confirmed that the list includes Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia, which is operated by Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad.

“I think it’s difficult to point a specific operator at this stage...The qualification requirements of the government are quite stringent although in some respect they have relaxed them,” Pangilinan said.

He said the consortium would have to ensure that the technical partner would fit all the qualifications set by the government.

“We need to get the right fit, not just from the point of being technically qualified but they must also conform to the qualifications of the government,” Pangilinan said.

The airport partner would have a 10-percent stake in the consortium, which would be majority owned by MPIC and 33 percent owned by JG Summit, the two companies said in a joint statement on Monday.

The consortium may vie for other airport projects in the future but for now the focus is only the Mactan airport, Pangilinan said.

MPIC has interests in water and sewerage utility, toll roads, real estate and hospitals while JG Summit operates budget carrier Cebu Air Inc., Robinson’s Land and JG Summit Petrochemical Corp. among other companies.

The Pangilinan-Gokongwei consortium may be up against a joint venture between the Aboitiz and the Ayala Group, San Miguel Corp., Filinvest Development Corp. Lucio Tan’s Macroasia Corp., Lopez-led First Philippine Holdings Corp. and SM Investments Corp., which have all brought bid documents.

Meanwhile, the operator of the Mactan-Cebu international airport is seeking a moratorium or additional international flights between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. due to passenger congestion until the completion of the ongoing P17.5-billion expansion project.

Niguel Paul Villarete, general manager and chief executive officer of the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA), said in a letter to the Civil Aeronautics Board that the international passenger terminal in the country’s second largest gateway is already congested especially during the hours between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.

Villarete informed executive director Carmelo Arcilla that the airport’s limited facilities could no longer handle additional flights due to congestion.

The MCIAA operates the Aerodrome catering to both domestic and international flights. – With Lawrence Agcaoili