How DOTC is fixing Philippines' airport woes

Posted at 05/13/2014 4:59 PM | Updated as of 05/14/2014 12:28 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Several changes aimed at improving the country’s airport system will be implemented in the coming months, Transportation Secretary Jun Abaya said.

The Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 (NAIA-1) is currently being rehabilitated, but the ongoing construction has triggered another problem: poor air conditioning.

NAIA-1 has five chillers, but only three are currently operational.

According to Abaya, four new chillers are scheduled to be installed by September, noting that the agency cannot immediately purchase new units because of procurement laws.

“We have to comply with procurement law. It’s not an excuse. We know the benefits of a good procurement law, but it just requires forward planning. If you know it takes you 8 months to procure, then you procure 10 months prior,” he told ANC’s "Headstart" on Tuesday.

Abaya added that the agency is also considering renting out chillers to address the problem.

There will also be changes in the immigration process to prevent long queues at the airport.

NAIA-1, which has been tagged “world’s worst airport” by a travel website, is operating beyond its capacity of 4.5 million passengers.

Currently, the terminal is servicing 8 million passengers, Abaya said, noting that the overcapacity is also adding to the poor air circulation.

To decongest NAIA-1, government is planning to construct another terminal, Terminal 5, beside NAIA Terminal 3 to exclusively cater to low-cost airlines.

Five international airlines will also move to NAIA-3 by August in efforts to decongest NAIA-1.

These airlines are Delta Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Etihad Airways, KLM, and Singapore Airlines.

“We are currently designing Terminal 5, which will be located next to Terminal 3 because we will be better off as a country if we move the domestic airlines to low-cost carrier terminals designed for their operations and allow operations so that Terminal 3 becomes fully international,” said Abaya.

The target of completion of NAIA-3 is in July.

The structural rehabilitation of NAIA-1, on the other hand, is scheduled to be completed by January 2015.