Aboitiz InfraCapital, the infrastructure business unit of the Aboitiz Group, said Wednesday it submitted an unsolicited proposal to modernize four airports in the Visayas and Mindanao for P148 billion over a 35-year concession period.
“Through this unsolicited proposal, we intend to support the government’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ program as we develop sustainable airport facilities that reflect and support the tremendous economic and tourism potential of the Philippines’ regions and provinces,” Aboitiz InfraCapital president and chief executive Sabin Aboitiz said.
The four regional gateways – Iloilo International Airport, Bacolod-Silay Airport, Laguindingan Airport and New Bohol International Airport in Panglao – are key entry points into Visayas and northern Mindanao.
The first three are already operating above capacity and require urgent rehabilitation, while New Bohol is expected to open the island further to the international market as part of the national tourism strategy. The move is also expected to decongest Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
These regions have been experiencing tremendous growth in the last few years and the airports have struggled to follow the pace of the development. Iloilo and Bacolod airports have been operating for 10 years, while Laguindingan started operating in 2013 but has been operating above its capacity since its opening year.
The government earlier identified the regional airports modernization as a critical infrastructure project and launched a tender for a public-private partnership for five airports under the Build-Operate-Transfer Law in 2014. The plan was canceled in 2017.
The Department of Transportation earlier pre-qualified Maya Consortium led by Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Philippine Airports Consortium of Metro Pacific Investments Corp., San Miguel Holdings Corp-IIAC Airport Consortium and Filinvest-Jatco-Sojits Consortium for the five regional airports.
The five regional airports included the P20.26-billion Bacolod-Silay International Airport, the P30.4-billion Iloilo International Airport, the P14.62-billion Laguindingan Airport, the P2.34-billion New Bohol (Panglao) Airport and the P40.57-billion Davao International Airport.
Aboitiz said the pooling of resources to develop, operate and maintain all four airports was required in order to unlock synergies that would benefit all stakeholders, including the government.
“Not only will none of the airports require any form of subsidy, the combined potential of the four regional gateways results in overall gains for both the government and the local economy,” he said.
The company said swift implementation would be a key to ensuring that the airports continued to serve as a platform for sustained regional development.
It said the approach proposed by the Aboitiz Group could assist the government in delivering the upgraded infrastructure in the shortest possible time and in the most efficient way.
Aboitiz InfraCapital said once an award was granted, it could start working with the relevant government and community stakeholders to improve operations and passenger experience in 2019.