Abaya apologizes for NAIA 1 aircon problems

Posted at 04/16/14 12:19 PM

Immigration officers at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 bought their own stand fans and installed these at the immigration counters to alleviate themselves of the exhausting heat due to the non-working air-conditioning unit inside the airport terminal. Photo by Raoul Esperas

New chillers to be delivered by August

MANILA, Phlippines - Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya on Wednesday apologized to the public for the poor air conditioning at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport terminal 1 (NAIA-1).

In a statement, Abaya said the NAIA-1's air conditioning system is working, but noted the ongoing rehabilitation works is causing poor air circulation and warm temperatures at the terminal.

"We sincerely apologize to the public for the warm temperature at NAIA 1. We understand how inconvenient it is to endure these conditions inside the airport’s facilities, especially during this peak season. While the air conditioning system is functioning, temperature is affected by rehabilitation works. We appeal to you to kindly bear with us, as this is all part of the ongoing project which will ensure T1’s structural integrity for the continued safety of its users," he said.

Amid the Holy Week exodus, passengers at the NAIA 1 complained about the lack of air conditioning and the long queues at the immigration counter. An 11-year-old girl even fainted at the airport on Tuesday.

The terminal 1 management from the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said certain air handling units (AHUs) had to be shut off to prevent dust and particles from being sucked into the air conditioning system.

A safety net covering the departure hall’s ceiling was also blamed for the poor air circulation.

The MIAA said it is upgrading the air conditioning system, with four new chillers to be delivered by August this year. This will be in addition to three chillers currently operational. All AHUs are also expected to be replaced before the end of the year.

Abaya appealed for the public's patience as the NAIA 1 rehabilitation project is expected to be completed by January 2015.

"We promised a better NAIA and are on our way to delivering on this promise, but we need the public’s understanding in the meantime that we are working on it," he said.

The P1.2 billion NAIA-1 rehabilitation project involves structural retrofitting, certain architectural works, and the improvement of mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection facilities. D.M. Consunji is the contractor for the project.

The NAIA 1 is getting a much-needed facelift, ahead of the Philippines' hosting of the APEC’s Summit meeting in 2015.

More than three decades-old, NAIA 1 has been named one of the world's worst airports by several websites. The airport has gotten a bad rap for its overcrowded facilities and runway traffic.