NAIA-1 renovation to start December

Cherrie Regalado
Construction for the upgrade and improvement of the world's 'worst airport' will start on December 1

BEAUTIFICATION. Efforts to improve the country's main gateway will be complete in 2014. File photo by EPA

MANILA, Philippines – Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the transformation of the ‘world’s worst airport’ facility will be complete by late 2014.  

In a press briefing on Monday, October 21, Abaya said construction works on the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 (NAIA-1) will start in December and will be finished before November 2014 in time for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation ministerial meetings. The Philipppines will host the APEC Summit in 2015.

“We are ready to award the construction services and consultancy services mid- November. We will start hammering the first nail by December,“ Abaya said.

“The deadline given to us by the APEC organizing committee is that NAIA-1 should be operational and rehabilitated by November 2014, “ he noted.

Voted as the worst airport by visitors of travel site “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports, NAIA-1 has long been in the government’s to-do list. (READ: What’s the real score in NAIA 1 project)

Its redesign, restructure and rehabilitation have been postponed by changes in leadership of the DOTC as well as delays in choosing the teams of designers, engineers and architects for the planned renovation. (READ: Rivals to partners: Cobonpue, Locsin to make over NAIA-1)

Major renovation

Abaya said the rehabiliation of NAIA-1 1 will include major upgrade of the structural, mechanical and electrical components of the airport facility.

“We have procured a third party consultant to address performance on structural performance,” he said.

This is to ensure that the facility will be “earthquake-proof and wouldn’t collapse or endanger lives,” he noted.

Moving to NAIA-3

Changes in the architecture and interior design include the expansion of arrival area, Abaya stressed.

“We are giving back space for the passengers that offices currently occupy,” he said in a mix of Filipino and English.

Allocating more space for the passengers, Abaya noted, is also needed as NAIA-1 has been accomodating volume of passengers that is higher than its 4.5 million passenger capacity a year.

“The plan is to reduce passenger load of NAIA-1 to design capacity. We are now at 8 million. We plan to bring that down to 4.5 million,” he said. 

Part of the plan is to transfer the excess volume to NAIA Terminal 3 (NAIA-3), he added.

NAIA-3 was originally designed to accommodate international flights, but before the airport facility was launched in 2012, the Arroyo government abrogated the contract with the Filipino and German consortium it awarded the project to.

Years of legal battles here and in arbitration courts abroad mothballed the facility. Only half of the facility was considered structurally safe since it was partially opened in 2008. (READ: Aquino on NAIA-3 delays: Please bear with me)

The Aquino government is working on sealing a long delayed deal with Japanese firm Takenaka to complete the renovation and rehabilitation works on NAIA-3.

Abaya earlier said that construction works would be completed within 8 to 10 months after the signing of the contract with Takenaka. (Read: 100% of NAIA-3 operational by end-2013: Abaya–