Marcos says gov't will not privatize NAIA
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the government will not privatize Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
"There’s no plan to privatize anything. Rather, we do the opposite. No, when (Transportation) Secretary Jimmy Bautista was talking about that, I think he may have been, maybe he misspoke or he was misinterpreted. But you cannot privatize an airport to begin with. They cannot own the airport. A private firm cannot own the airport," he said Monday evening.
Marcos also mentioned that he invited a foreign firm to help the Philippines improve the management of the operation in NAIA during his visit to New York last year.
"In New York, we met the group that runs Gatwick Airport, they run London airport, they run several big airports... asking them what they can do, can they come in and help us so that we can increase the traffic through the Manila airport. And they said, they could. And so they are coming, they were here last week to look at the operations of the airport and especially since we had that problem on New Year’s Day and this recent outage with the (uninterruptible power supply) UPS," he said.
"So at most, we will have a management contract. Come in and manage the airport. And they say that they, without changing anything, without changing, without new equipment, without building a new runway that they can increase the traffic from what is presently, they refer to as 35 movements per hour to up to 45 movements per hour without changing anything," he added.
In a Palace briefing on Tuesday morning, Bautista said "the private sector will manage the operation through a concession agreement" which the government has been doing in the airports in Cebu and Clark.
"Cebu is operated by GMR Megawide although the asset is owned by the government. That is why the infrastructure was not privatized. This is also the same with the operations of Clark International Airport the asset remains in the government but the operation is being managed by the private sector," he said.
Bautista said the government is looking at two possible options for the management of NAIA operations.
"Actually what will happen is that we are preparing the terms of reference and this will be subject to bidding by proponents. We are waiting for this because there are two possibilities, one is for us to receive what we call an unsolicited proposal where the foreign firm that we met in New York can join or we will invite them to submit a proposal based on the approved terms of reference that we are now preparing so that is the possibility on the NAIA operations," he said.
Bautista noted the possible increase in the price of airport fees and services but he assured that the government will still have the power to regulate the rates that may be imposed by the operators.
"It will increase automatically because the regulatory function will remain with the government and the government will have a say in the rates that the operators will impose so it doesn't mean it will increase immediately," he said. Robina Asido/DMS