Megawide commits 'no flight delays' within 6 months after NAIA rehabilitation

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 27 2020 01:48 PM

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MANILA - Megawide committed on Friday that there will be no flight delays after 6 months of taking over operations of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), banking on their expertise in airport operations.

"[Transport] Secretary [Arthur] Tugade has a challenge for us. He said 'Megawide, you have to fix all [the issues]. We don't want any flight delays. You have to fix that as soon as possible. We don't want to experience that.' So once we hit the ground, within 6 months, passengers will not experience any flight delays despite the 40, 50, 60 million overcapacity," Edgar Saavedra, Megawide Chairman and CEO, told ANC's Market Edge.

The P109-billion NAIA rehabilitation project involves addressing all the issues on air traffic congestion, and improving comfort and queuing time in the terminal which Megawide is confident to deliver, he added.

Asked why the company still took over the NAIA project despite "viability" concerns from the biggest conglomerates in the country, Saavedra said they can deliver government infrastructure projects faster and cheaper, on top of their airport operation and engineering capacity.

"Even the Clark Airport, no one submitted [bids for that] because the government wants this Clark Airport to be completed within 27 months at a certain budget. Not one local company participated... We bidded 24 percent lower, the second lowest bid, and we completed one month earlier [than the deadline], last 2 months ago," he added.

He also cited their hand at the state's PPP for School Infrastructure Project, saying they delivered it on time despite tight schedules and way below the budget allotted.

Megawide and its Indian airport partner GMR secured original proponent status (OPS) for the NAIA project in July. 

Aside from NAIA and the Clark Airport, Megawide-GMR developed the Terminal 2 of the Mactan Cebu International Airport, and is in charge of operations.

Before Megawide, the "Super Consortium" comprised of some of the country's biggest firms bowed out of the NAIA project in July, citing viability concerns. They secured OPS for the project in August 2018.

The consortium members included JG Summit, LT Group, Filinvest Development Corp., Alliance Global Group, Ayala Corp. and Aboitiz Equity Ventures. Manny Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp. backed out of the consortium in March, noting the same risk concerns.

"There is urgency here, they are pushing us to roll out as soon as possible, before 2022 elections. Secretary Tugade said they already wasted 2 years on this airport project," Saavedra said.

Megawide expects a Swiss challenge for the NAIA project to happen in the first quarter of 2021.

The engineering company raised P4.4 billion from a preferred shares offering to fund the NAIA project and the expansion of its precast plant and landport terminal PITX.