PLANS TO CONSTRUCT a new $7-billion air terminal at the Clark Freeport in Pampanga have basically gone back to square one after the company which won the right to build the facility failed post-auction checks.
Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) officials said they were looking for a new builder after Admiral Energy LCC, the US firm which won the bid last September, was found not to have an experienced airport operator for a partner.
"[Admiral] failed the post-qualification check because they did not have a partner airport operator," CIAC Executive Vice-President Alexander S. Cauguiran told reporters over the weekend.
Admiral officials were not available for comment.
Instead of a new auction, however, CIAC will just accept proposals from interested parties. "We’ll be accepting ’unsolicited proposals’ until the end of the month," Mr. Cauguiran said.
Mr. Cauguiran is head of the Joint Venture Special Committee which conducted the initial bidding for the project last September. During that auction, Admiral Energy was the only one out of the three firms to pass eligibility requirements.
The Chicago-based firm offered a P108-million upfront payment within 10 calendar days, a minimum guaranteed annual payment of P261 million, and a total proposed investment of P12.4 billion, almost double the floor price of P6.4 billion.
However, Admiral Energy’s supposed partners for the project were found out to be experts only in the procurement and installation of airport equipment, not airport operations.
Under the deal, whoever gets the contract for the project has to design, build, finance and operate the new airport. The facility — capable of handling seven million passengers annually — is part of the government’s bid to develop Clark as the country’s next "premiere" international gateway.
Clark’s current terminal, the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport, has a capacity of two million passengers a year. In comparison, Manila’s airport system has a combined capacity of over 30 million passengers a year.
Mr. Cauguiran said the Clark area has more room for growth than Manila, with around 4,200 hectares of land which can be used for expansion. Manila’s airports have already filled up the 700 hectares available in the capital, he pointed out.
Clark also has two full runways with room to build two more, compared to Manila which only has space for one runway.