NAIA 1 is Asia's worst airport: website

Posted at 10/16/2012 4:04 PM | Updated as of 10/17/2012 9:38 AM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 was named the worst airport in Asia by travel website Sleeping In Airports.

"With its collapsing ceilings, overcrowding, rampant bribery, and taxi drivers scamming travellers on fares, its easy to understand why 'disappointed' and 'unbelievable' are just a few of the words travellers use to describe Manila's Terminal 1," the website said. 

Sleeping In Airports on Monday released the results of its 16th annual Best and Worst Airports for sleeping in or long transits. Last year, the same website named NAIA 1 as the world's worst airport.

The website acknowledged that the Philippine government has been working to improve NAIA 1's facilities, but judging from the results of the survey it seems that travellers have yet to see any improvements. 

"Travellers continue to complain about the long and numerous queues that begin outside the terminal. Once inside, there will be no time for naps and certainly no place for quiet rest and enjoyment as you'll be busy going through various queues for the next few hours as you proceed to your gate," it added. 

Sleeping In Airports also advised travellers, who are transiting to another terminal, to look out for taxi drivers who rig their meters to jack up the fares. But it did note that airport authorities did crack down on the practice of taxi drivers in March. 

Travellers have also reported corruption at the NAIA 1.

"More disconcerting are the number of reports we've received indicating officers asking for cash payments to expedite normal procedures. Shame," the website said. 

Other traveller complaints were long lines, crowds, insufficient seating, delays receiving bags on belt and poor quality restaurants.

Sought for comment, the Palace said the government continues to undertake renovation and engineering works to improve the facilities at the NAIA 1.

"Tuloy-tuloy po ang gagawin nating renovation po dito sa NAIA 1 and syempre we are always cognizant of the concerns of travelers and certainly we‘ll take this to (heart)," presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

Other "worst" airports 

NAIA 1 shares the title of "worst" airport with several others. This year's survey named "worst" airports for different regions.

The worst airport in North America is Los Angeles airport, while in Europe, the worst is Rome Fiumicino and in Middle East, it is the Jeddah airport. In Africa, the worst is Lagos airport; in South America and South Pacific, the worst airports are Caracas and Tonga. 

For Sleeping In Airports' annual Best and Worst Airports survey, travellers were asked which airports are the best and worst for sleeping or long transit. 

The website named Singapore's Changi Airport as the best airport in the world, followed by Seoul and Hong Kong.

Here is Sleeping In Airports' list of worst airports in Asia:

1. Manila (NAIA 1)

2. Mumbai

3. Islamabad

4. Singapore's Low Cost Carrier Terminal

5. Kolkata

6. Jakarta

7. Hanoi

8. Chennai

9. Kuala Lumpur Low Cost Carrier Terminal

10. Bali 

NAIA defects

Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio "Jun" Abaya, in an interview on ANC's Business Nightly on Tuesday, admitted the need to improve NAIA.

"Our engineers, consultants found structural defects on (the) NAIA complex thus it's mandatory that we do rehabilitation works," he said.

Abaya said a 3rd-party consultant will review a performance-based design for the airport complex, "which should be quick, less obstrusive to avoid disrupting" the gateway's operations.

"Hopefully we can get agreement signed this month for Takenaka to take full commissioning of NAIA 3, which takes a year to accomplish," he added.

"Hopefully within a year or a year and a half, we will have NAIA 3 fully operational and NAIA 1 fully rehabilitated," Abaya said.- With reports from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News; ANC