Ayala Land eyes rehab of Mactan Cebu airport

By Zinnia B. Dela Peña, The Philippine Star

Posted at Dec 06 2011 07:26 AM | Updated as of Dec 06 2011 09:10 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Property giant Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) is training its sights on the 300-hectare Mactan Cebu International Airport, which is in dire need of rehabilitation.

The privatization/sale of the airport’s current location is among the options being considered by the MCIAA (Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority) to raise the necessary funding for the development of a world-class and modern airport.

“We are interested in both the upgrade or the transfer,” said ALI president Antonino Aquino.

He said the company is awaiting the decision of the MCIAA and the Department of Transportation and Communications on whether they will upgrade or transfer the existing airport.

“We will participate in the bid of whichever option the government decides to pursue,” Aquino said.

SM Prime had earlier submitted a proposal to acquire the existing airport site, which it intends to develop into a mixed-use complex.

Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City) was earlier reported to have said that selling the Mactan airport property and putting up a new one would be a more feasible option than refurbishing the existing airport which could cost some P5 billion.

Osmeña also said the runway could be converted into a highway, which can be extended from the Lapu-Lapu City Reclamation Area to the Cordova Reclamation Area should the sale push through.

With both SM Prime and ALI signifiying interest in the aiport property, analysts are speculating that the rivalry between the two groups could heat up anew. ALI and SM Prime are locked in a dispute on who has the right to develop a 7.7-hectare prime property in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental.

ALI said it sealed a deal with the provincial government of Negros Occidental for the development of the property into a mixed-use complex at an estimated cost of P6 billion.

SM Prime, however, questioned the deal, saying it was invalid, saying a case it filed regarding the July 7 auction of the property was still pending.  The company said it had offered a “far more superior bid” for the property.

The bidding, however, was a declared a failure after both firms purportedly submitted bids lower than the property’s appraised value.