Improvements Continue at Ninoy Aquino International Airport But Airport Still Falls Short

After Terminal 3 at Ninoy Aquino International Airport was completed to permit full operation of the facility, upgrades continue at Terminal 1, which is presently undergoing a facelift in order to bring it up to international standards, while shedding the image as one of the world's worst airports.

naia terminal 1
"Before and After Photos of  NAIA Terminal 1 Check-In Area"
Copyright Photo: E. Hortaleza/PPSG
Inside Terminal 1, passengers will immediately notice that the interiors are all being given a facelift. The interior is being brightened considerably, while the immigration queues are being improved dramatically. Airport personnel are working hard to improve the experience of departing and arriving passengers by improving the efficiency of visa and security checks.

"On-going Renovations at NAIA Terminal 1 - September 2014"
Copyright Photo: D.Wilson/PFN
Although many believe that the air-conditioning could still use improvement, it is a far cry from the inhumane conditions that passengers had to endure last summer when a number of passengers even fainted due to the intense heat. While the work has been slow to get underway, the government continues to maintain its deadline of launching the improved facility in the second quarter of 2015. 

"On-going Renovations at NAIA Terminal 1 - September 2014"
Copyright Photo: D.Wilson/PFN
Most recently, the Wall Street Cheat Sheet identified Terminal 1 as one of the top ten worst airports in the world based on traveller complaints regarding the airport's rundown facilities, rude officials and airport staff, and long queues.

naia terminal 1
"No Seating in NAIA Terminal 1 - December 2013"
Copyright Photo: D.Wilson/PFN
While the terminals are enjoying a badly needed facelift, the issues of congestion still pose a challenge for the Manila International Airport Authority. Terminal 2, used exclusively by Philippine Airlines, has already reached its full capacity, while Terminal 1, cannot accommode any additional aircraft docks. 

naia terminal 1
"Unsightly Clutter at NAIA Terminal 1 - December 2013"
Copyright Photo: D.Wilson/PFN
As the Philippine economy continues to improve, demand for air travel in the country is expected to rise sharply, with the country's primary international gateway in desperate need of a solution, preferably a brand new international airport. The previous alternative, Clark International Airport, has suffered due to the inability to secure an investment for a high-speed rail link between the airport and metro Manila. The Philippine government believes that it will be able to get a new international airport ready before 2027.

In spite of many of the positive changes, many on-going issues still remain at Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Last month, GMA Network reported that the Manila International Airport Authority has yet to complete the installation of CCTV cameras at all of the airport's terminals. While Terminal 3 has completed nearly 90 percent of the installation of security cameras, the contract for Terminals 1, 2, and 4, have yet to even be awarded.

naia terminal 3
"Departures Hall at Recently Completed NAIA Terminal 3"
Copyright Photo: D. Wilson/PFN
Senator Pia Cayetano recently expressed her displeasure with the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, particularly Terminal 2, home to the nation's flag carrier, Philippine Airlines. "One of the important elements for a tourist is comfort in waiting in an airport, and NAIA 2 does not have any decent coffee," said Cayetano. "NAIA has one, but the selection is otherwise..." The senator did not even complete the sentence, finding herself lost for words. "It's a bad airport to begin with. But there are a lot of little things that we can do, and No. 1 would be to elevate it to what we want people to think of it," added Cayetano. "We want to promote shopping, but when you get there, there's no decent coffee shop, there's no place to enjoy."

A three-page letter was submitted by Cayetano to Jose Angel Honrado, the General Manager of the Manila International Airport Authority. The Senator also noted that the Tinderbox restaurant with locations in Terminals 1 and 2, has converted itself into a smoking establishment. "It is totally a smoking establishment," said Cayetano. "In effect, they have banned non-smokers." She added that some of the smoking areas at Ninoy Aquino International Airport are not entirely secure and they emit smoke, violating the anti-smoking policy.

Senator Sergio Osmeña voiced his support of Cayetano's concerns. "They promised us in 2010 they'd clean up Terminal 1 to get it out of the worst airports list, and we're still there," said Osmeña. "The reason why we're only one of the top 10, not No. 1, is because they averaged it. Terminal 3 started operations. If we remove Terminal 3 - you keep Terminal 2 there because it also averages us up - we will still be the worst."

Meanwhile, the Manila International Airport Authority has announced a plan to set up covered walkways and pedestrian lanes around Terminal 3 at an estimated cost of P4.9 million. General Manager Jose Angel Honrado believes that it would be of benefit to those who take public transportation. "The project will connect Terminal 3 to jeepney and bus stops at the rotunda," said Honrado. 

The project is expected to be completed within 3 months and includes the construction of a 283-meter covered pedestrian lane, along with a 434-meter brick walkway. The project is aimed at providing ease and comfort to those arriving and departing from Terminal 3 using public transportation, as it will will shield passengers and terminal employees from the rain and heat. Honrado added that another plan is afloat to connect Terminal 3 to Resorts World Manila with a walkway.

naia terminal 1
Copyright Photo: E. Hortaleza/PPSG
At Terminal 1, passengers are beginning to observe changes in both the departure and arrival halls at the ageing airport. In the departure hall leading to gates 2 to 7, a new ceiling, lights, and blue carpet have been installed in addition to new steel reinforcement beams to withstand earthquakes and better air conditioning.

naia terminal 1
Copyright Photo: E. Hortaleza/PPSG
In the arrivals hall of Terminal 1, passengers are greeted by a new green carpet, ceiling, lighting, and better air-conditioning. Departing passengers can also enjoy coffee sold by a brand new Starbucks that was recently opened inside the terminal building. 

naia terminal 1
Copyright Photo: E. Hortaleza/PPSG
Earlier this year, five foreign carriers transferred from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3 in an effort to decongest the terminal by nearly 1,500 passengers per day. The Philippine government is currently evaluating the possibility of connecting Terminals 1 and 2, in addition to the plan to construct a fifth terminal at Ninoy Aquino International Airport. "It will be better if we could bring NAIA Terminal 2 closer to Terminal 1," said Joseph Abaya, Transportation Secretary. "It will be more convenient for passengers to transfer."

12 comments:

  1. ooohkay...better than nothing...but lets take that point of the Lady Sen about smoking lounges that came to be...

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    Replies
    1. Smoking lounges are favored by many of us and they have nothing to do with the terrible facilities at the airport.

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    2. London Heathrow, the world's busiest airport, as well as many other international airports across the globe do NOT have any indoor smoking areas, and millions of air travelers still fly through them.

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  2. i like the improvement. :)

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  3. Improvements should be focused primarily to the rude officials and airport personnel as well not cosmetic structures... customers service should be a priority so that visitors will be convinced to come back again n good for the economy ...

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  4. I am Australian and have never found 'rude' officials at NAIA.

    In fact often the speed of immigration processing is better than at a lot of other airports around the world. In Istanbul it took me in excess of an hour to be processed. Irrespective of terminal, the most I have ever waited is 25 minutes.

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  5. Easy accessibility between terminals should be emphasized ..if you deplaned from NAIA 1 or 2 to NAIA 3 or vice versa it will take ages to arrive due to horrible traffic..

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  6. Now that Chinese gov't had approved a 2nd mega airport with possibly 4 runaways @ Beijing, what happened to the proposed sanley point/ smc manila bay project? Everyone knows that NAIA is so congested!

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  7. It's all superficial improvement but the system and design are still the same.

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  8. NAIA T3 not fully functional. Elevators, escalators remain non-functional. They say "work in progress" but until when.

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    1. When it is the case that elevators and escalators are not working are there stairs available to get people to where they need to be. I wonder what happens to those travellers who are handicapped and need to use the elevator...
      handicapped

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  9. This airport is still ridiculous. And even though Filipinos are usually so nice and pleasant, rude staff! Quite upset my last memory from the Philippines will be in this horrible airport.

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