President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said that his government has no plan to privatize the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
He was speaking while inspecting the Terminal 3 of the NAIA five days after its air traffic system outage affected 64,000 passengers on Jan. 1, 2023.
Marcos highlighted that the government could not privatize an airport, which is the country’s central gateway.
“We have no plans of privatizing…There’s no plan to privatize anything. Rather, we do the opposite,” Marcos said
“[W]hen Secretary Jimmy Bautista was talking about that, I think he may have been – maybe he misspoke, or he was misinterpreted. But you cannot privatize an airport, to begin with. They cannot own the airport. A private firm cannot own the airport,” he added.
However, the President revealed that the government has invited a company that operates many big airports to visit the Philippines and help to boost the traffic.
“And they said they could. And so they are coming – they were here last week and to look at the operations of the airport and especially since we had that problem on New Year’s day and this recent outage with the UPS (uninterruptible power supply),” he said.
At most, Marcos added, the Philippines would only go for a management contract with a private sector group who have significant experience in operating ports and airports successfully.
“Come in and manage the airport. And they say that they, without changing anything, without changing – without new equipment, without building a new runway that they can increase the traffic from what is presently, they refer to as 35 movements per hour to up to 45 movements per hour without changing anything,” Marcos said.