NAIA-1 rehab, facelift complete by mid-2013

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Five companies are joining the bid to complete the P1.16 billion-worth structural and beautification works on 'the world's worst airport'

MANILA, Philippines – The P1.16 billion-worth structural and beautification works on Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 or NAIA-1 will take 18 months to complete, or up to mid-2013, according to Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas.

“There will be a partial completion by December and work will continue until middle of next year,” Roxas said in a press briefing on Monday, February 6.

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) announced that 5 companies have expressed interest in undertaking the much-awaited structural rehabilitation and facelift of the international terminal facility that greets and bids goodbye to tourists, businessmen, overseas Filipino workers.

The DOTC will auction the project with the following AAA-rated companies participating:

  • DMCI
  • DDT Konstract Inc.
  • Hillmarc’s Construction Corp. (clients include SM Mall of Asia)
  • EEI Corp. of the Yuchengco Group 
  • Datem Inc.(clients include St. Luke’s Medical Center Global City)

The NAIA-1 was slammed as one of the worst in the world for “a snooze or long transit,” by the Guide to Sleeping in Airports, which cited structural flaws, unclean bathrooms, lack of services. Other unhappy passengers have likewise voted in online travel sites that NAIA-1 is among the world’s worst.

These have hastened the government’s plans to improve the airport facility, though the choice of designers for the terminal was controversial before.

The DOTC has brought a team of consultants from the Singapore’s Changi Airport, the world’s best. They studied passenger flow and identified key areas and facilities for improvement.

“They made recommendations as to the relocation of facilities. They noted certain choke-points and  made recommendations where to relocate and open new areas as well,” Roxas said.  

Current plans have made the removal and upgrade of the escalators a top priority for facilitating more passenger movement between the departure and arrival halls. The comfort rooms are also slated for demolition and replacement.

DOTC has said it’s focus will center on mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection revamps but smaller aesthetic fixes such as changing out the tiles, fixtures and water piping are also part of the plan.

To reduce waiting time of international airline passengers, immigration counters will be increased by 50%, according to Roxas.  

A rapid exit taxiway will also be put in place to speed up aircraft landing and reduce flight delays, he added.

Roxas said the taxiway would let the airport reach its target of 45 takeoffs and landings per hour. Currently, the facility can only take 36 takeoffs or landing an hour.

Roxas reiterated that plans to privatize NAIA-1 and the other international airport terminal, NAIA-3, remain. However, he said the structural flaws and, in the case of NAIA-3, the legal issues all have to be settled and completed first.

Roxas said that this year the DOTC will lead the government’s charge to pump-prime the economy through key infrastructure projects. Infrastructure projects were delayed last year as the government said it was focusing on transparent processes and proper implementation.

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