PHL will spend ₱ 1 Billion to modernize Ninoy Aquino International Airport

The Philippines become a leading and among the richest and the most powerful country in Asia next to Japan back 1950's makes the Philippines lead among Asian country's development in the past but become lagged after becoming sickman in Asia because of the corrupt Marcos Regime.

The Philippines' oldest airport in the world shows the country have something to say in the past but now the aged airport needs reinvestment after series of bad reputation about its obsolete facilities and small space to cater millions of passengers.

Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 has been often been rated as the world's worst international airport now 1 Billion for re-modernization.

While customers of budget airlines get to access a modern, stylish terminal building on the other side of the sizeable airport's runway network, passengers on long haul international flights arrive and depart from a run down, cramped, leaking building which is literally falling down ( a ceiling caved in earlier this year causing considerable disruption to passengers). 

At last some relief is in sight. A 1 billion peso (US$23 million) facelift will commence in January, scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. The project will be led by transportation and communications secretary Manuel Roxas II.

Leandro V. Locsin and Associates, the original architects of  NAIA-1, will conceptualise the look of the terminal and an interior renovation will be carried out by designers Kenneth Cobonpue, Royal Pineda and Budji Layug. 

"The proposed P1-billion budget will help build a new image of the Philippines, like all modern airports, would provide a "boutique experience," not so much for its modest size as for its distinct atmosphere of civility and expedience," said Pineda.

To facilitate quick flow of departing and arriving passengers, concessionaires like insurance companies and banks which are currently located in the middle of departure and arrival areas will be relocated to the sides.

"Flow takes precedence. The proposed master plan includes freeing up the space to accommodate more passengers by transferring the offices and banks elsewhere," Pineda said.

The arrival area will be transformed to glass allowing passengers to see the lobby and areas beyond. The makeover will also use more natural light from outside for illuminating the area especially on the luggage section. Also, the waiting lounge will be refurbished and more restrooms will be added.

"We will create a boutique (terminal). With a small terminal, we can show efficiency and hospitality," said by Pineda.

"It's not just about adding toilets and rectifying the look, but also verifying the structural integrity of the building," he added.

The management will not only focus on the terminal rebuilding but also it will enhance operations. It has been recommended by the makeover team to include the terminal fee in the passengers' tickets, as done by most international airports worldwide, to spare passengers from lining up to pay it. Passengers with exit clearances and exempted from terminal fees and travel tax will line up at the counters.

"Let the majority of the passengers enjoy the smooth flow in the airport," Pineda said.

The current open parking lot will be changed to a three-level parking area and a line up of food outlets and art exhibits added. (Food choice is dismal at the terminal currently with only a crowded cafeteria or an ageing licensed restaurant available land-side).

The arrivals area will be extended to give more space for well-wishers and families. Families and greeters who wish to hold welcome parties can use the income-generating spaces of restaurants and garden.

Wisely, airport management has recognized that the terminal affords inbound visitors their first impression of the Philippines, so the designers emphasized the need to give more attention to it.

Architecturally, the airport has some appeal with an unusual external shape and flowing lines. But it's the total lack of functionality which distresses regular travelers.

NAIA fifth most hated airport in the world – A call for change

CNNGo, the travel Web site of CNN, has named the Ninoy Aquino International Airport the fifth most hated airport in the world.

"Wear a helmet," advised Jordan Rane in The World's 10 Most Hated Airports posted Wednesday, noting that the ceiling at one terminal collapsed in 2006 which was constructed by a German Firm.

"Beleaguered by ground crew strikes, unkempt conditions, soup kitchen-style lines that feed into more lines and an overall sense of futility, NAIA brings the term 'Stuck in the 1970s' to a new level," CNNGo said.

The Web site also noted that all non-Philippine Airlines international flights were crammed into Terminal 1 despite serious overcapacity, while the newer and underused Terminal 3 was occupied by only a few minor carriers.

"A rash of bad press this year (including a 'Worst in the World' ribbon from Sleeping in Airports) was capped by a collapsed ceiling in T1 [Terminal 1], a paralyzing ground service strike at T2 [Terminal 2], and the usual charges of tampered luggage, filthy restrooms, seat shortages at gates, re-sealed water bottles sold in retail shops, and an Amazing Race-style check-in routine spiked with bureaucracy, broken escalators, lengthy dot-matrix passenger lists, and creative airport departure fees."

Earlier this month, airport officials announced that Terminal 1 would be refurbished next year at a cost of P1 billion to serve passengers better and remove its tag as "the worst airport in the world."

CNNGo's most hated airport was the Charles de Gaulle in Paris, with its "grimy washrooms with missing toilet seats," broken scanning machines, an overall lack of signs and gate information screens, and dismissive staff.

The others in CNNGo's list were the Los Angeles International Airport (No. 2); London Heathrow (No. 3); Toncontin International in Tegucigalpa, Honduras (No. 4); Jomo Kenyatta International in Nairobi (No. 6); John F. Kennedy International in New York (No. 7); Tribhuvan International in Kathmandu (No. 8); Perth Airport in Australia (No. 9); and Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International in Brazil (No. 10).

Meanwhile, Malacañang on Wednesday welcomed the offer of First Pacific Co. chief executive Manuel Pangilinan to bid for Terminal 1 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, saying the sale of the 30-year-old terminal was "seriously being considered."

"There is no definite time line yet, [but] we think it can happen within the term of the President [Benigno Aquino III]," Communications Secretary Ramon Carandang said.

"We always welcome private sector interest. It will be open to the bidding process."

No plans of NAIA privatization — Palace

Malacanang on Wednesday said the government has no immediate plans to privatize the 30-year-old Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda however said there are already plans to refurbish NAIA 1.

"There was no discussion of privatization so far when I was there [in the meeting]. They were talking about renovating NAIA 1," Lacierda said. "There are structural improvements that are required to be done."

For his part, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) Secretary Ricky Carandang said it would take a long time before the NAIA 1 is privatized.

"NAIA privatization will happen only after airport is moved to Clark [Pampanga], which is still a few years away," Carandang said.

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