NAIA’s Problematic State

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One would expect the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) which is the only major international airport in Metro Manila to be among the top performing airports in the country. However, one would be wrong.
NAIA has a very inefficient system, from the air-conditioning up to the flight plans, especially in Terminal 2 which is leased exclusively to Philippine Airlines (PAL).

There is an ever present excruciating heat wave washing over passengers inside the glass-enclosed terminal. Even complaint after complaint from travelers have been to no avail.

Meanwhile, NAIA 3 has been bogged with controversy due to foreign planes refusing to move to the more spacious and modern Terminal 3 due to fear of being tangled in a legal dispute between Manila and German airport operator Fraport AG.

However, airports have announced that the transfer to NAIA 3 would be complete by August.

Nonetheless, NAIA 1 has been ranked number one as the worst airport in Asia by travel website Sleeping In Airports. The travel site describes “collapsing ceilings, overcrowding, unbridled bribery and taxi drivers scamming travelers on fares.”

In 2011, NAIA 1 was named as the world’s worst airport.

The site Sleeping In Airports acknowledged that the Philippine government has been working to progress NAIA 1’s facilities. It seems though that there have yet to be any developments at all.

Passengers continue to harp about long, numerous queues that begin even as far as outside the terminal, which stretch on until the passenger proceeds to the gate.

There have also been reports of taxi drivers who manipulate their meters to jack up their fare prices. Airport authorities, though, say that they were able to crack down on the practice of taxi drivers.

Travelers continue to report on corruption at NAIA 1, detailing officers asking for cash payments to speed up normal procedures.

Rainy Season Preparations
NAIA authorities have recently implemented contingency measures to make certain passenger safety and welfare following the onset of the rainy season.

Manila International Airport Authority general manager Jose Angel Honrado had a conference with the Weather Disturbance Management Committee on Friday to discuss overall direction and control procedures during bad weather.

Present in the conference were MIAA senior officials and managers of NAIA’s four terminals.

Honrado specifically directed the terminal managers to coordinate well with their respective emergency response teams.

“They are mandated under MIAA guidelines on severe and extreme weather disturbances to carry out emergency procedures in their areas of responsibility in accordance with the airport emergency plan. Under the guidelines, the terminal Manager is the ERT (emergency response team) chief,” Honrado said.

Honrado also mandated on the terminal managers to make sure that target completion dates were met for projects that could turn into potential problems during the rainy season if left unfinished.

“Like in NAIA Terminal 2, we have completed waterproofing works in the domestic portion. We have now moved to the international wing,” he said.

MIAA authorities said the renovation, repair, and completion works in the other terminals were proceeding as planned.

Why SMC’s Us$10-B Airport Is Needed

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SMC, which has diversified from food and beverage to infrastructure, plans to pursue the project under the government’s 25-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme.

MANILA – Foresight could have spurred powerhouse San Miguel Corp. (SMC) to build its proposed US$10 billion airport as the nation’s new international gateway.

Reflecting its dynamism as a major infrastructure builder, the airport takes into account the rapid rise of passenger traffic in Metro Manila, the nation’s trade and industry hub.

From 31.88 million in 2012, the traffic is projected to rise to 49.8 million in 2020, 75 million in 2030, and 106.7 million in 2040.

The projection, which includes expected traffic from neighboring Central Luzon and Calabarzon regions, is based on a study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).

As SMC has envisioned, the facility aims to replace the congested and more than three decades old

Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 in Pasay city.

BOT scheme

As it is now, the NAIA is handling over eight million domestic and international passengers a year, nearly double its designed capacity of 4.5 million.

Unlike the NAIA, the new airport would have four runways to cater to a high-passenger capacity.

Under SMC’s proposal, the airport will initially cover the NAIA’s 400-hectare area to be expanded later to 800 hectares.

The scheme allows SMC to operate the project to recoup investments before turning it over to the

The conglomerate’s proposed airport coincides with the expansion plan of its aviation unit Philippine Airlines (PAL), a joint venture with ethnic Chinese taipan Lucio Tan. SMC has a 49 percent stake in the national flag carrier, while Tan owns the remaining  51 percent.

Expansion plans

Eyeing the lucrative United States route, PAL’S plan calls for the deployment of its fleet of newly acquired Boeing 777-300ER aircraft for the long-haul flights to the US.

The flag carrier viewed the reclassification of the country’s aviation safety rating to Category 1 as a boost to tourism and trade that would open new and exciting opportunities for PAL.

Passengers can enjoy nonstop flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco aboard new aircraft equipped with the most modern cabin and state-of the-art amenities, including lie-flat beds in business class, PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang said.

Currently, PAL operates a total of 26 weekly flights to the US, with frequencies to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu and Guam.

The flag carrier intends to deploy six Boeing 777-300Ers costing about US$1.2 billion, part of the airline’s fleet modernization program, for the US flights.

For flights to Honolulu and Guam, PAL will continue to utilize new wide-body Airbus A330-300s and single-aisle A320-200s.

Apart from fostering a new era in the flag carrier’s transpacific service, Ang said PAL would also explore possible airline partnerships with foreign carriers to maximize the company’s growth potential.