Government Planning Low Cost Terminal at NAIA

Just when everyone hoped that the government had a clear solution to rectifying the congestion problems at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, another new idea has emerged. While it may sound positive, the real question is if throwing another option into the mix is making this process far too complex for any decision to be made on the construction of a new airport in the immediate future. However, it is clear that the government is making an effort to improve conditions at NAIA in the short term although long term plans remain in question.

ninoy aquino terminal 3
Image Source: Wikimedia
In an interview with ABS-CBN Television, Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya announced that the government is considering the construction of a new low-cost terminal to be built near Terminal 3 at Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Under the plan, the area adjacent to Terminal 3 would be maximized to enable the airport to accommodate more flights. The new low cost terminal would be for the exclusive use of local airlines for their international and domestic flights.

If that is true, then it would appear that the government is finally making a serious move to act on the original plans to use Terminal 3 as the primary terminal for foreign carriers. But rather than shifting Cebu Pacific to Terminal 1, the government will construct a new low-cost terminal for the use of Cebu Pacific and other budget carriers. This project may pave the way for the eventual closing of Terminal 1 and Terminal 4.

"Terminal 3 was really designed as a terminal to handle foreign passenger traffic. It is capable of handling 13-million foreign tourists," said Abaya. "Obviously, you need more space. There's a difference between foreign passengers and domestic passengers." Abaya added that in order to maximize Terminal 3, a low cost terminal would be constructed and all domestic airlines would be brought to that area.

It is hoped that Terminal 3 will be fully operational by Quarter 1 of 2014 just in time for the country to host the World Economic Forum.  The government has been working vigorously to upgrade and rehabilitate several airports in the country. P2.8 billion was set aside for the rehabilitation of Terminal 1 at NAIA and funds have also been set aside for construction of a low cost terminal at Clark Airport. The government anticipates work on Terminal 1 to be completed by 2015 just ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders' meeting. The government is also in preparation of tendering bids on upgrade contracts for airports at six key cities in the country. 

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