MANILA, Philippines – The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 will be ready for full airline operations by July 31, with its rehabilitation and retrofitting almost complete – 6 years since it opened, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said Thursday, July 24.
The P1.9-billion ($43.91 million*) renovation of NAIA 3 undertaken by Takenaka Corporation of Japan is 85% complete, paving the way for the transfer of 5 foreign airlines next week.
“We are extremely pleased to confirm that full airline operations will begin at NAIA 3 next week. Our gateway airport will now be able to welcome 3.5 million more passengers with modern facilities every year, and NAIA 1 will now be considerably decongested to improve passenger convenience,” Abaya said.
Certain systems that are non-critical to full airline operations, such as the building maintenance system, will be completed within the year.
Emirates, Delta Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and KLM are set to transfer to NAIA 3.
The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) announced that Delta Airlines would have its first flight out of NAIA 3 on August 1, while KLM Royal Dutch Airlines would move within the first week of August. Singapore Airlines, Emirates, and Cathay Pacific will follow suit by the end of the month.
“These 5 carriers have the highest volume of international flights coming in and out of NAIA, so we look forward to giving them a new home,” Abaya added.
NAIA 3 rehab ongoing
With the transfer, the volume of passengers at the congested NAIA 1 will be reduced to 8 million. NAIA 1 has been operating beyond its design capacity of 4.5 million.
Abaya said the construction of NAIA 3 was awarded in 1997 and was supposed to be completed in 2002, but legal issues related to its bidding process delayed the project.
NAIA 3 opened in July 2008 but was only 52% operational at the time. The government was able to convince Takenaka to complete the project regardless of the ongoing cases.
“President Aquino’s Daang Matuwid promise calls for political will to prevail in order to deliver the government services our people deserve, so we made sure that 17 years and 4 administrations later, the whole Terminal 3 facility may be enjoyed by the public within this term,” Abaya remarked.
Over the past one-year period, the Japanese firm has undertaken completion works for systems such flight information displays, computer terminals, gate coordination, landing bridges, and fire protection systems,” he said.
NAIA 1 rehab
On the other hand, the P1.3-billion rehabilitation ($30.03 million) of NAIA 1 being undertaken by construction giant DM Consunji Inc. is expected to be completed as scheduled in January 2015 in time for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit.
Latest data from MIAA showed the number of domestic and international passengers increased 3.1% to 32.865 million last year from 31.877 million in 2012.
Wall St. Cheat Sheet, a United States financial media company, ranked NAIA 8th worst airport in the world, citing overcapacity issues in Terminals 1 and 3.
The DOTC is looking at opening a new international airport by 2027, along with the joint development of NAIA in Manila and the Clark International Airport in Pampanga. A study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) showed that the number of passengers in Greater Capital Region would hit 106.7 million by 2040 from 31.88 million in 2012.
JICA has recommended Sangley Point in Cavite as the site of the new international airport, while diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corporation is proposing to build a $10-billion international gateway. – Rappler.com
*($1 = P43.31)