Gov’t to travelers on NAIA rehab: Be patient

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The government asks airline passengers for understanding as it closes portions of NAIA Terminal 1 for renovation

ROADMAP. The Transportation department is preparing an airport roadmap that will involve the construction of a new international airport that will serve Manila. File photo by EPA

MANILA, Philippines – The government appealed to airline passengers for understanding as it closes portions of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 for rehabilitation.

The over P1-billion rehab of one of the “world’s worst” airports starts Thursday, January 23 and is expected to be completed by January next year, said Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.

The project, being undertaken by construction giant DM Consunji Inc., involves structural retrofitting; improvement of mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection facilities; as well as architectural works at the 32-year-old terminal building.

Over the course of the project’s implementation, the DOTC chief said certain areas of NAIA 1 will be closed.

He explained that the closures will be done in 6 phases of 60 days each to be supervised by the DOTC and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA).

Abaya said preparations are now underway at NAIA 1, starting with the clearing of the area covered by phase 1 of the project.

“We appeal for patience and cooperation from passengers taking Terminal 1. These minor inconveniences will result in a much-improved NAIA, with better facilities and services for the public, in a year’s time,” he added.

Wall St. Cheat Sheet, a United States financial media company, earlier ranked NAIA 8th worst airport in the world, citing overcapacity.

According to the report posted online, the 10 worst airports are known for their “smelly bathrooms, long lines and rude staff.” It described NAIA’s terminals 1 and 3 as “particularly crammed.”

The following are the other worst airports:

  • Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport in Brazil (1st)
  • Chicago Midway International Airport (2nd)
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (3rd)
  • N’Djamena International in Africa (4th)
  • Paris Beauvais Tille (5th)
  • London Heathrow (6th)
  • LaGuardia in New York City (7th)
  • Jomo Kenyatta International in Kenya (9th)
  • Tribhuvan International in Nepal (10th)

APEC Summit

Abaya said the organizing committee of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is giving the agency until December this year to finish the NAIA 1 rehab project as the Philippines is set to host the 2015 APEC Summit.

The rehabilitation of NAIA 1 established in 1981 would be handled by the original architectural and engineering firm Leandro V. Locsin and Associates while the Cobonpue, Layug, and Pineda Group would serve as airport design consultants.

The rehab will be undertaken alongside the P1.9 billion retrofitting works at NAIA 3 being undertaken by Takenaka Corp. of Japan. This project is also expected to be completed in time for the APEC summit.

NAIA 1 has been operating beyond its design capacity of 4.5 million, now handling over 8 million. Once retrofitting works are done at NAIA 3, which is operating at half of its total capacity of 13 million passengers, some of NAIA 1 flights will be transferred there.

New airport

The DOTC is looking at putting into operation a new international airport by 2027 under an “airport roadmap” until 2040.

The new airport, according to the agency, will be “within 20 to 30 minutes of Metro Manila.”

The government is considering two options in the modernization of the country’s gateway system.

One will entail the closure of NAIA by 2030, which will mean that the new airport should serve 78% of the country’s passenger volume. The Clark International Airport (CIA) in Pampanga, which has also been eyed as an alternative to NAIA, will handle the remaining 22%.

The other option, meanwhile, will allow NAIA to co-exist with CIA and the new airport “up to 2040 and beyond.” –

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