India-backed group wins S$490 mn Philippine airport project

MANILA - A consortium that includes India's GMR Group has won a 17.52-billion-peso (S$490.36 million) contract to upgrade the passenger terminal of the Philippines' second airport, the Filipino government said Saturday.

The GMR-Megawide consortium has been awarded a 25-year concession to the Mactan airport that serves the central city of Cebu, the country's second-largest metropolis after Manila, the transportation and communication department said.

"This project should have been done at least a decade ago, so there is no more time to waste," the department's spokesman Michael Arthur Sagcal said in a statement.

Over the next three to four years, GMR and its local partner will renovate Mactan's passenger terminal, build a separate one for international flights, and then operate the improved facility with an expected annual turnover of eight million passengers.

The existing terminal was built to handle 4.5 million passengers a year, but annual traffic topped six million in 2011, well past its capacity, the department said. Cebu is the country's main tourism hub.

Under the contract terms, the new facility reverts to government ownership and control after 25 years.

GMR Group, an infrastructure company based in Bangalore, has interests in airports, energy and highways.

The tender was held last year but the contract award was delayed as the government said it was investigating allegations by one of the six other bidders over GMR-Megawide's financial capability.