Aquino targets NAIA 3 full operations in December

Posted at 08/01/2010 3:14 PM | Updated as of 08/02/2010 12:45 PM

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III said the government is expecting to fully operate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) 3 in December.

This developed after the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Singapore on Saturday favored the Philippine government in the arbitration case against the Philippine International Air Terminals Co. (Piatco) in connection with the NAIA 3 contract.

The ICC decision is similar to the decision of the arbitration in Washington which dismissed the complaint of Fraport AG, a German investor in NAIA 3, against the government.

"It is with very intense delight that I was informed that we won by the dismissal of the complaint in Singapore," said Aquino in a press conference on Sunday, adding it is significant that the government won in both cases.

The favorable ruling meant the Philippine government will not be obligated to pay $1.1 billion to the complainants.

Aquino said, however, that he wants to know the details of the ruling.

"As you know the devil is in the details. I am awaiting for briefings of the details to move foreward and have NAIA 3 used to its maximum capacity."

"We are targeting (full operations) in time for the Christmas holidays," said Aquino.

On Saturday, Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that with the case dealt with finality, the Department of Transportation and Communications will thresh out details on how the operations of the NAIA 3 will be done.

The NAIA 3 is currently not being used to its maximum capacity because of the cases.

Piatco was the consortium that submitted a winning counter-bid to build the NAIA 3 against the unsolicited proposal of AEDC, a corporation then formed by five Chinese-Filipino tycoons.

In December 2004, the Supreme Court (SC) nullified the build-operate-transfer contract between Piatco and the government due to onerous changes to the original contract.

The government then took over the terminal and started expropriation proceedings. This prompted Piatco and Fraport AG to file cases before local and international courts.

In December 2005, the SC issued a ruling ordering the government to pay Piatco just compensation if it wanted to take over the terminal.

The Manila International Airport Authority was scheduled to hold a soft opening of NAIA 3 on March 31, 2006 but this was cancelled when a portion of the ceiling collapsed.