NAIA Terminal 3 Ready for International Carriers

The General Manager of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport has revealed that Terminal 3 will soon be ready to begin hosting international carriers. Earlier this year, it was announced that Delta Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Emirates Airlines, and KLM would begin operating from Terminal 3 before August.

ninoy aquino airport terminal 3
Copyright Photo: Bernardo Agulo/Panoramio
The international carriers are transferring from Terminal 1, which is presently under renovation, in an effort to decongest the terminal that is currently well over its design capacity of 4.5 million passengers. Terminal 3 is in the final phase of its own renovations to complete the terminal for maximum occupancy. 

According to Jose Angel Honrado, NAIA General Manager, the installation of closed circuit television cameras and other systems to improve the airport will be completed next month. He also noted that the air conditioning issue in Terminal 1 has been addressed. 

Temperatures during renovations have reached an unbearable 37 degrees inside Terminal 1 resulting in at least two passengers collapsing. The new air conditioning units are expected to be installed in Terminal 1 in August. Honrado admitted that the running capacity at the airport was already saturated and that alternative gateways to Manila needed to be considered.

Honrado blames the congestion on the inability of a number of key provincial airports such as Caticlan to handle night flights. Honrado says that this leads to the majority of congestion in the early morning and late afternoon. In an effort to address the congestion, the Philippine government is planning to construct a new parallel runway at the airport while it looks at options for a replacement or alternative gateway. 

A number of areas are being considered for the development of an alternative gateway including Angeles City, Sangley Point, and part of Manila Bay. The San Miguel Corporation recently proposed to construct a new Php 10 billion international airport on a reclaimed portion of Manila Bay.  

Meanwhile, Germany is hoping that the completion of NAIA Terminal 3 will speed up the settlement of a legal dispute between the Philippine government and German airport operator Fraport AG. Germany-based Fraport is the foreign partner of the Philippine International Airport Terminal Company that won the right to build and operate Terminal 3. 

But the Philippine government nullified the contract in 2002 citing allegations of violating anti-dummy laws. This resulted in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars for Fraport, which has yet to be fairly compensated. Foreign carriers have been hesitant to transfer to NAIA Terminal 3 citing fears of becoming entangled in the unresolved dispute between the Philippine government and Fraport. 

According to German Ambassador Thomas Ossowski, the bilateral economic and trade ties between the two nations would improve more if an amicable settlement could be reached. "It's a good window of opportunity. Once they do this step, it might also be a good idea to come to a settlement," said Ossowski. "Everyone should now be interested to come to a settlement. We have moved a good way forward but more needs to be done." He added that the Fraport dispute has scared away other European investors. "All the other investors see is money which went down the drain."

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