Megawide Construction Corporation (“Megawide”; PSE: MWIDE) announced last November 16, 2020 that travellers flying in and out of the Ninoy Aquino International Aiport (“NAIA”) complex will experience a dramatic improvement in comfort, efficiency and safety in the first year alone of its proposed Php 109 billion rehabilitation and transformation of the Philippines’ busiest and most congested airport complex.
“As the only tried and tested company to deliver a first-world airport for Filipinos in decades – the internationally awarded Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) – we are thrilled to announce that passengers flying in and out of the NAIA complex will enjoy a vastly improved experience within the first year of our management of our proposed NAIA transformation project,” said Edgar B. Saavedra, Megawide Chairman and CEO.
“Working closely with all NAIA stakeholders, within months of our being awarded the project, the Filipino public will experience reduced queuing times and shortened delays at all terminals, clean and improved restrooms, expanded shopping and dining, plus enhanced and smoother security, baggage handling and more,” explained Louie B. Ferrer, President of GMCAC, the joint-venture company of Megawide and GMR Airports Limited (GMR) which developed and operates the only current world-class standard international airport in the Philippines, MCIA.
GMR, which has a 40% equity participation in the project, is among the world’s top four airport operators, managing over 100 million passengers annually and connected 267 global cities pre-pandemic. In September 2020, the world’s largest airport operator, Groupe ADP (Aeroports de Paris) which manages the Parisian international airports Charles du Galle, Orly and Le Bourget Airport, acquired 49% of GMR.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has caused widespread economic hardship for so many Filipinos. That is why we fully support President Duterte’s plans to substantially increase infrastructure investment in order to create more jobs and more sources of income for Filipinos. Now is the time to ensure economic certainty for our people and our proposed transformation of NAIA will significantly contribute towards that,” added Saavedra.
First-year improvements will uplift NAIA experience and transform Terminal 1 into a new, green landmark for Metro Manila
Originally designed to handle 30 million passengers per year, NAIA handled 48 million in 2019. MEGAWIDE GMR’s proposal will increase NAIA’s current capacity of 30 million to 65 million passengers per annum over a strategic and phased approach.
Terminals 1-3 will see massive improvements , particularly in the first phases of the concession, that will allow passengers to have efficient use of facilities, faster transactions, and enjoy their stay in the terminals with better dining and retail experience.
Terminal 1 Transformation
The forty-year-old Terminal 1 (T1) will be rehabilitated and expanded, bringing it into the 21st century. While the existing structure, designed by National Artist Leandro Locsin, will be retained and enhanced, the open parking area and back parking building will be redesigned and integrated into the T1 complex. The centrepiece is envisioned to be a fully sustainable micro-climate “Green Valley” inspired by the Banaue Rice Terraces, one of the Philippines’ most distinctive and unforgettable natural wonders. T1 check-in areas will also be reconfigured.
“We intend to upend traditional thinking about airports and create an airport we would be proud to call our own. Rather than building the usual airport structure made of glass and steel, we believe our new NAIA can be green and sustainable. The existing form of T1 called to mind the eighth wonder of the world, our very own Banaue Rice Terraces and with its transformation, NAIA T1 will become a new green landmark everyone will want to experience,” explained Ferrer.
Terminal 2 and 3 Transformation
At Terminal 2, reconfiguration of check-in, expansion of dining and retail areas, and improvements in the baggage handling system will be made. Canopies will be installed in the parking facility open areas to allow people to move seamlessly; and the drainage system will be fixed to prevent flooding. At Terminal 3, new pedestrian canopies will also be installed, while enhanced security areas and bathroom renovations will be prioritized.
Airside, MEGAWIDE GMR will construct an additional taxiway and include runway holding areas to allow planes to queue and depart at the soonest time that the runway is available, thus making air traffic significantly manageable.
In coming years, Phases 2 & 3 will be dedicated to relocation and replication of existing facilities, developing a brand new international terminal, enhancing all parking, and the introduction of a railway-based people-mover system, akin to other major global airports.
The experience to deliver a First-World NAIA
If there is any indication of the NAIA project’s viability, then MEGAWIDE GMR’s past performance guarantees future results. In 2018, MEGAWIDE GMR commissioned the MCIA Terminal 2, and the year after completed full renovations of its Terminal 1 while ensuring uninterrupted operations and seamless passenger experience.
The MCIA was awarded the Asia-Pacific Medium Airport of the Year in the CAPA 2018 Asia Aviation Awards for Excellence, and won at the World Architecture Festival in the Completed Buildings – Transport category, besting Singapore Jewel Changi Airport and Hong Kong West Kowloon Station, among others.
MCIA also showcases locally sourced materials, aligned with Megawide’s DNA to help uplift local entrepreneurs and workers. In addition, it is recognized for its innovations and technological advancements that paved the way for efficient traveling.
In September 2020, Megawide also delivered the new, architecturally distinctive Clark International Airport terminal building capable of serving up to 12 million passengers a year, within budget and on time to the Department of Transportation and the airport proponents.
“Clark International Airport is the second world-class terminal building we have delivered for the Philippines. No other company in the Philippines has the tried and tested track record of innovation and project excellence in airports than Megawide and we are truly excited to bring this to all NAIA stakeholders,” added Saavedra.
NAIA / MIAA worker protections and inclusive stakeholder engagement
At MCIA, MEGAWIDE GMR worked closely with regulators, airlines, concessionaire-holders and all internal and external airport stakeholders. No jobs were lost at MCIA; in fact, many employees across MCIA were upskilled with new management, technology and other skills required to run a first-world airport.
Ferrer emphasized that NAIA employees who will be offered jobs with Megawide will receive benefits equal to or possibly more than what they are currently receiving, and will be protected against any labor-saving devices for a certain period.
“For those employees who will come under our direct management, we want to make sure that you improve professionally, and your income protected and enhanced over time. For those employees who work for partner or concessionaire vendors, we will deploy the same inclusive and holistic approach we did at MCIA. A better NAIA, through solid and inclusive collaboration, will result in better jobs and brighter futures for all,” said Ferrer.
Significantly, the MCIA has spurred economic growth in Cebu as tourism is one of its economic pillars. The modernization of MCIA has been pivotal in advancing Cebu’s tourism image as tourist arrivals increased in 2019 before the pandemic hit the Philippines.