Temperatures flare at world's worst airport

Posted at 04/16/2014 9:27 PM | Updated as of 04/17/2014 2:18 AM

MANILA (UPDATED) - Another black eye for the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC): Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)-Terminal 1 temperatures could be high for the next four months.

President Aquino said when one of the terminal's air chillers failed in the last few days, it turned out that another was already under repair and a third beyond repair.

That left just two chillers operating when the terminal needs three.

Combine that with summer heat, the Holy Week rush, and circulation problems resulting from ongoing rehab of the terminal, and temperatures rose.

The President said the new chillers, costing P95 million, are scheduled to arrive in August.

"At least 30 years old na yang terminal na yan," Aquino told reporters during an inspection of transport hubs today. "Yung air con, 5 ang chiller, 3 dapat ang umaandar. November last year pa binid-out at na award. Ang problema, ang delivery August. Ngayon pinapatanong ko bakit ang tagal. Tinatanong ko, custom-made ba 'tong mga aircon na to? At hinihintay ko yung feedback ng umabot nga yung problema," he said.

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said it bought 30 air cooling machines via emergency procurement for P480,000 this week, installing them in NAIA-1 last night.

Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Jun Abaya said he doesn't know why the contract for new chillers was only bid out in November. He also said he only learned of the latest chiller problem when President Aquino texted him about it. But he denied there was a lack of communication between him and MIAA General Manager Angel Honrado, whose job is not at risk.

"I don't think his job is on the line just because of warmer temperatures at NAIA," Abaya said in a phone interview on ANC.

The DOTC is one of the government's most criticized departments amid NAIA and Metro Rail Transit congestion, delays in PPP biddings, and other issues.

The DOTC said most of this is due to neglect of previous administrations, and its push to ensure new projects are clean and favorable.

NAIA Terminal 1 got the nod as the Worst Airport of 2013 by the Sleeping In Airports community. Travellers considered comfort, conveniences, cleanliness, and customer service in their choices. -- report from Coco Alcuaz, ANC