MANILA, Philippines - The volume of passengers at the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) managed to rise 3.1 percent last year even as the government rushed works at the country’s premier international gateway that has been time and again named one of the world’s worst airports.
Data from the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) showed the number of domestic and international passengers reached 32.865 million last year from 31.877 million in 2012.
The number of arriving and departing domestic passengers at NAIA slipped slightly to 17.689 million from 17.738 million on several flight cancellations due to weather disturbances such as Super Typhoon Yolanda that battered provinces in the Visayas last Nov. 8.
The number of domestic flights declined 4.1 percent to 149,421 last year from the year-ago figure of 155,832.
On the other hand, international passenger traffic reached 15.176 million or 7.3 percent higher compared to 14.139 million in 2012 as the number of international flights increased 9.9 percent to 87,629 from 79,685.
The P1.3-billion rehabilitation of the 32-year old NAIA Terminal 1 being undertaken by construction giant DM Consunji Inc. started last Jan. 23 and is expected to be completed within one year.
The project involves the structural retrofitting, improvement of mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection facilities as well as architectural works of the decades-old terminal building.
Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya earlier said certain areas of the terminal building would be closed for renovation to be done in six phases of 60 days each.
Wall St. Cheat Sheet, a United States financial media company, has ranked NAIA eighth among the 10 Worst Airports in the World, citing overcapacity issues in Terminals 1 and 3.
According to the report posted online, the 10 worst airports are known for their “smelly bathrooms, long lines and rude staff.” It described NAIA’s Terminals 1 and 3 as “particularly crammed.”
The report named the worst airports in the world including Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport in Brazil (1st), the Chicago Midway International Airport (2nd), the John F. Kennedy International Airport (3rd), N’Djamena International in Africa (4th), Paris Beauvais Tille (5th), London Heathrow (6th), LaGuardia in New York City (7th), Jomo Kenyatta International in Kenya (9th), and Tribhuvan International in Nepal (10th).
Abaya earlier said the organizing committee of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is giving the agency until December this year to finish the project as the Philippines is set to host APEC’s summit meeting.
The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) earlier awarded a consultancy and management services contract to TCGI Engineers that submitted the lowest bid of P34 million for the P38.7-million project.
The rehabilitation of NAIA 1, established in 1981, would be handled by the original architectural and engineering firm Leandro V. Locsin and Associates while the Cobonpue, Layug, and Pineda Group would serve as airport design consultants.