DOTC, Takenaka seal crucial deal to make NAIA-3 fully operational

Lala Rimando

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The full operation of the NAIA-3 (and the transfer of some international airlines operating at NAIA-1) seem to finally about to come true

BEHIND THE SCENES. At the baggage handling area of NAIA-3, airport staff manually handle passengers' bags since the codes to keep the systems working are with Japanese contractor Takenaka. Photo taken by Lala Rimando in 2010 for the Naia-3 chapter in the book "Seven Deadly Deals" published by Newsbreak

MANILA, Philippines – The full operation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 (NAIA-3) is in the horizon.

After being mothballed since 2002 and its partial opened in 2008, the long-delayed promises of a fully-operational and integrated services at NAIA-3 seem to finally about to come true.

In a statement on Monday, March 12, Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas announced that he has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Japanese construction firm Takenaka Corp. to complete the 23 airport systems that makes the airport facility run seamlessly.

The MOU is the first of the legal steps needed to make the systems that run NAIA-3 100% operational, said Roxas who is currently in Japan.

“We would like to thank Takenaka Corporation for both being thorough and sincere in negotiating with us,” Roxas wrote in the statement. “It was their cooperation that this deal was signed in record time.”

Transportation officials said Roxas will provide more details when he arrives on Tuesday, March 13.

Roxas had said earlier that NAIA-3 could be fully operational either end of 2012 or early 2013.

There was also no mention of the reduction of the differential costs of the systems which, according to earlier statements from Roxas, Takenaka supposedly agreed to reduce to $10 million from $40 million.

Why Takenaka

Takenaka was the original contractor tapped by the private consortium Piatco, which won the right to build and operate the facility almost 15 years ago.

Since the Arroyo government voided the Piatco contract in 2002, Takenaka has been on the wayside as the long-drawn legal squabbles among the Philippine and German governments, and the Filipino businessmen, ensued in courts here and abroad.

A deal with Takenaka, however, has been a regular target among different Cabinet officials since tapping the original contractor would more or less assure that the waiting period between the time a deal is signed was estimated to just be around 6 months.

Other contractors would need a year or more since they are not as familiar with the facility as Takenaka. 

Unlike other terminals at the NAIA where airport systems–such as baggage handling, communications, flight displays, etc–are operating separately, NAIA-3 was designed to have systems that operate as one.  

The NAIA-3, initially conceived as the main international airport terminal in the country that will operate as a world-class facility, has been operating these airport systems largely on manual basis just to commercially operate it, albeit less than half of its capacity.

It is currently administered and managed by the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), which services local airlines such as Cebu Pacific and AirPhil Express.

Japanese budget airline All Nippon Air was a recent addition to the airport facility that is not fully utilized.

BAGGAGE HANDLING. These conveyor belts at the baggage handling area at the NAIA-3 have been "silent" for almost a decade as the Philippine government and the private contractors battled it out in the courts. Cathay Pacific and other international airlines operating at the congested NAIA-1 have been eager to transfer to NAIA-3 but not until these conveyor belts start humming to service the airlines' passengers. Photo taken by Lala Rimando in 2010 for the Naia-3 chapter in the book "Seven Deadly Deals" published by Newsbreak

Not the first time

This is not the first time the Philippine government has inked an agreement with Takenaka.

During the latter part of the 9-year-long Arroyo administration, an MOU was also inked between Takenaka and the Department of Transportation and Commmunication.

What makes this recent deal different is that the MOU now includes a ‘Civil Works Agreement Estimate of 23 Systems,’ which covers the delivery of 23 airport systems critical to make NAIA-3 fully operational.
The 23 airport systems include Baggage Handling and Reconciliation System, Flight Information Display System, Building Management System, Local Area Network, Fire Alarm and Protection System, and Passenger Loading Bridges.

Both parties agreed to execute the CWA within 30 days from the date of execution of the MOU.

Only then would Takenaka commence working on NAIA-3 — the same tasks that should have been finished almost a decade ago.

Decongest NAIA-1

Once completed, the 182,500-square-meter terminal would have the capacity to service up to 33,000 passengers daily at peak or 6,000 passengers per hour.

It also has 34 air bridges and 20 contact gates, allowing it to service 28 planes simultaneously.

Roxas said that once the 23 systems at NAIA-3 are delivered, some of the international operations at NAIA-1 would be transferred to NAIA-3.  

This would then decongest passenger traffic at the over 3-decade-old NAIA-1, which had earned the embarrassing tag as one of the worst airports in the world.

International airlines operating flights at NAIA-1 have been keen on transfering to NAIA-3, but the manual approach to some airport systems, including the baggage handling tasks, have made them reconsider. –

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