The Virata-Yuchengco-led SPIA Development Consortium is poised to bag next month the contract to build and operate the $11-billion Sangley Point International Airport (SPIA) project after successfully hurdling the competitive challenge made by the Cavite government.
According to a document sent to the Inquirer, Leonides Virata of SPIA Development Consortium member Cavitex Holdings Inc. was invited by the local government to attend the awarding and signing ceremony of the much-awaited airport project, tentatively scheduled for Sept.14.
This, after the Cavite government’s public-private partnership (PPP) selection committee concluded the 60-day competitive or Swiss challenge for the project on Aug. 17. The consortium did not face other competitors during the process, which led to it finally bagging the contract. Joining SPIA consortium in the project are Munich Airport International Airport GmbH, which is Europe’s only five-star airport, and Samsung C&T Corp., the company that built the Terminal 1 of Incheon International Airport and the extension of Changi Airport.
In January, the local government accepted the offer by Virata- and Yuchengco-led SPIA Development Consortium to build the $11-billion international airport, granting it the original proponent status (OPS) for the project.
A Swiss challenge is conducted to invite other proposals with better terms than the OPS’ offer. The OPS is then allowed to match counter offers during the process; if no better offer is filed, the OPS will secure the contract.
“It has been formally declared that no challengers or prospective bidders registered and purchased the bid documents after the lapse of the set deadline for compliance with the said bidding requirements,” PPP selection committee chair Renato Abutan said in the document obtained by the Inquirer.
Their proposal seeks to provide an airport with an annual capacity of 25 million passengers initially. It also plans to create a second runway to expand capacity to 75 million passengers per year.
The consortium made its offer in November last year after the Cavite government canceled in January 2021 the contract it awarded to the venture of state-run China Communications Construction Co. Ltd. and MacroAsia Corp. for their failure to comply with the requirements.
Prior to this, the local government unit declared a failed bidding in October last year because no offers were placed by the deadline.
The Sangley airport project is deemed crucial in decongesting Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the country’s main gateway.
Tycoon Ramon Ang, through conglomerate San Miguel Corp., has the same goal with the construction of his $14-billion airport city in Bulacan province.
The Virata-Yuchengco consortium envisions SPIA as a “fully modernized, world-class and green airport that is designed to expand as demand for air transport services increases in the next 30 to 40 years, and as operations at Naia are eventually phased out to allow for a redevelopment of the site and its surrounding areas.”
On the sidelines of an event in Pasay last week, Eduardo Luis Luy. president and chief operating officer of MacroAsia, told the reporters that having no challenger was a “good sign” for the company, adding that “at least that hurdle gone through.”
MacroAsia is still involved in the project as it will provide operations and management services.
Asked if MacroAsia was open to establishing a hangar in SPIA, Luy said it was still being discussed. Its joint venture unit Lufthansa Technik Philippines just inaugurated in Pasay a 9,000-square-meter facility that increased its base maintenance lines to 10.
Luy is also upbeat for the prospects of the aviation sector in the second half given the return of the air travel.
“If all goes according to plan, we will be able to see travel pick up. As the other countries also, hopefully, start to open up soon, then we can ramp up our operations,” he added. INQ