Megawide, GMR win Philippines airport PPP

The Mactan Cebu International Airport project has been awarded to the highest bidder after allegations of impropriety from the runner-up.

Philippines developer Megawide Construction and India’s GMR Infrastructure have been awarded a 25-year concession to run Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA), the second-busiest airport in the Philippines.

Megawide and GMR submitted the highest bid, with an offer of P14.4 billion (€234 million; $321 million), edging out a P14.0 billion offer from Filinvest Development Corp and Changi Airports. Six other consortia were also involved in the bidding process.

The process became mired in controversy since Filinvest questioned the financial capability of GMR to undertake the project and also made a conflict of interest allegation.

In a statement about the awarding of the project, Philippines’ Public Private Partnership Center executive director Cosette Canilao said: “Amidst all the controversies that surrounded the MCIA project, government stood its ground and upheld the rules that guided the bidding process. In the end, it is very clear that government acted with transparency and impartiality.”

The build-rehabilitate-operate-transfer contract involves the modernisation of the airport, including the construction of a new international passenger terminal building as well as the expansion of the existing terminal. The airport currently has a capacity of 4.5 million passengers but handled almost 7 million in 2013.

Mactan Cebu is the first airport public-private partnership (PPP) awarded by the government’s Department of Transportation and Communications.

It is also the seventh project awarded by the Aquino administration’s PPP programme, which was launched in late 2010. Others have included the P16.4 billion first phase of the PPP Schools Infrastructure Program (PSIP), and the P15.7 billion Ninoy Aquino International Airport expressway.