Foreign Carriers Asked to Move to NAIA Terminal 3

The Manila International Airport Authority has engaged in discussions with five international carriers to have them transfer from Terminal 1 at Ninoy Aquino International Airport to the newer Terminal 3. The move is part of an effort to decongest the older terminal and to prepare for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in 2015. 

delta manila
Copyright Photo: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG
Local media were recently informed that Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Jose Angel Honrado has asked Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, KLM, Emirates, and Delta Airlines to shift operations to Terminal 3 as soon as possible. But when the carriers asked Honrado to supply a contract prior to transferring to a new office, he allegedly replied, "It's only a piece of paper." Honrado was pressed to provide one and later supplied a draft document where the air carriers could specify their own terms so that a final draft would be acceptable to all parties. 

The reluctance of the airlines to transfer without a contract comes as no surprise given the recent legal battles that have hung over Terminal 3. Although the courts have technically ruled that the Manila International Airport Authority does own Terminal 3, airport management has yet to satisfy its obligation to fully compensate the Philippine International Air Terminals Company, the builder of the terminal. 

An effort was made by the Business Mirror publication to reach Honrado for comment by SMS but no replies were received. The government expropriated Terminal 3 from Piatco in December of 2004 with an order from the Regional Trial Court of Pasay. But the court stipulated that the Manila International Airport Authority was only permitted to take control of the terminal pending the payment of an initial amount of P3 billion to the Philippine International Air Terminals Company. That payment has yet to be made. 

Meanwhile, the government reports that Terminal 3 is 98 percent complete. It recently signed a P1.9-billion agreement with Japanese contractor Takenaka Corporation to make Terminal 3 fully operational next year. But the rehabilitation may take longer than expected. Last year, the Department of Transportation and Communications revealed that it had reached an agreement with Takenaka to have Terminal 3 fully operational by August 2014. Takenaka is expected to complete the work within 12 months including completion of fire protection systems, gate coordination, computer terminals, flight-information display systems, and baggage handling. Terminal 3 is currently only operating at half of its annual capacity of 13 million passengers as a result of structural issues that are expected to be addressed by Takenaka Corporation. 

The four terminals at Ninoy Aquino International Airport are projected to serve an estimated 34 million passengers this year. Honrado has been in the spotlight recently receiving negative attention from the media and general public for his failure to address on-going complaints about the country's primary international gateway that is regularly labelled as one of the worst airports in the entire world. 

Most recently, Honrado came under heavy criticism after the death of Zamboanga del Sur Mayor Ukol Talumpa who was gunned down along with members of his family while waiting for their vehicle at Terminal 3. The murders occurred without any footage of the incident that could be used as evidence because of the failure of the Manila International Airport Authority to install closed-circuit television cameras as part of the airport's security system. 

Meanwhile, efforts are being slowly made to make the thirty-year old Terminal 1 a more attractive and efficient place for air travellers. Built during the term of Ferdinand Marcos, the terminal is currently getting a P1.6 billion refurbishment. Workers can be seen scraping old concrete cladding off the building's face and replacing it with a smooth coating of concrete. The Guide to Sleeping in Airports recently rated Terminal 1 as the Worst Airport in the World for another consecutive year amidst complaints of rude staff, overcrowding, and inadequate facilities.  


  1. Absolutely no question terminal 1 is the worst airport in the world as major airports are concerned. I 100% agree the staff are rude and flying in or out is so time consuming and much more hassle than its worth.

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