A group of local conglomerates have withdrawn their proposal to develop Manila Ninoy Aquino International airport, citing the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the aviation industry

Known as the NAIA consortium, the group comprises entities from at least six local conglomerates. Among them are JG Summit Holdings and LT Group, the parent companies of Cebu Pacific Air and Philippines Airlines, respectively.

The proposal was submitted unsolicited to the Philippines’ Department of Transportation and the Manila International Airport Authority in February 2018, JG Summit Holdings and LT Group said in identical statements disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange on 7 July.

“The far-reaching and long-lasting consequences of the coronavirus pandemic on airline travel, airline operations and airport passenger traffic necessitated a review of the assumptions and plans to ensure that the NAIA Project will be viable in the ‘new normal’. The consortium proposed changes to update the NAIA Project’s framework to ensure the bankability of the NAIA Project.

“Unfortunately, the government indicated that it is not willing to accept most of the consortium’s proposed options and the consortium can only move forward with the NAIA Project under the options it has proposed.

“The consortium remains committed to support the government’s pursuit to implement its strategic infrastructure projects through public-private partnership to jumpstart the recovery of the economy, including the building of an international gateway that will reflect the growing and modernising economy of the country.”

According to Cirium data, Manila Ninoy Aquino International has exceeded its annual 30 million passenger capacity limit each year since 2013, when it handled 33 million passengers. Cirium schedules data show that seat capacity of scheduled flights at the airport grew 6% year-on-year in 2018 and 7% in 2019.