Struggling nAIa terminals - good news and bad news

BIZLINKS - Rey Gamboa - The Philippine Star

Inside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1, things are shaping up for the better. Portions of the interiors are getting a good facelift, and happily, brightening up what has been one of the reasons the terminal has been for three years now in a list of the world’s 10 worst airports.

Even the queues at the Immigration booths have become manageable, thanks to airport personnel trying to do their best to give departing and arrival passengers an efficient service of checking visas and other pertinent travel documents.

The airconditioner is still a bit too warm for comfort, especially in a country with temperatures like ours, but it could no longer be compared to a sauna as one of the reviewers to “A Guide to Sleeping in Airports” commented when NAIA Terminal 1 landed with the Worst honors three years ago.

Admittedly, work has been slow even after our government officials finally sorted out what kind of changes would be adopted, and who would do them. Still, what’s important is that there’s a team of construction people behind curtained and designated exposed areas working in earnest. The government has promised to lift the curtains on a better-looking and functioning airport by the second quarter of next year.

Wall St.’s Cheat Sheet had just voted NAIA-1 as worst in the world two months ago. The ruling was based on travelers’ complaints about the airport’s rundown facilities, impolite staff and officials, and long wait times. Hopefully, this will no longer be the case next year.

Airport roads

Part and parcel of the efforts towards presenting a more welcoming atmosphere for visitors and travellers to the country is the construction of dedicated elevated roads that would link NAIA-1, 2 and 3.

In the meantime, it’s hell for those who have to leave or have just arrived because the traffic created by the construction project has added up to the already unbearable slow pace of cars moving on EDSA and C-5. And with the holiday traffic expected to worsen, this only means more hours on the road.

Those flying out for both domestic and international travel have to adjust their travel time to the airport by at least another hour to make sure that they don’t miss their flights.

If it’s any consolation, work on the elevated roads is proceeding smoothly, and local traffic authorities are visible on the streets to facilitate traffic flow. Like the face-lifting inside NAIA 1, we can all look forward to a day when we can enjoy the fruits of the work that is currently ongoing.

All hot air

This is not the case though for all those initiatives that we’ve been hearing that would help decongest the airplane arrival and departure restrictions in the current airport terminals.

NAIA-1 is definitely way too cramped to handle more bays that can dock planes. NAIA-2, which is used solely by Philippine Airlines, has also reached its full capacity. NAIA-3 continues to be bugged by repair problems, although more airlines have been using it now.

Even then, there had been an expressed need to further decongest the three NAIA airports in Manila from air traffic that is expected to increase with the continuing improved performance of the Philippine economy.

Unfortunately, nothing seems to be working out. The proposed Clark International Airport, intended to shift some of the air traffic away from Metro Manila, has been stalled with the inability to secure investment for a rail system that would speed up travel time between Clark and Manila.

Last year, Philippine Airlines said it would build another airport, to be ready in five years, which could handle about four times the number of NAIA flights per hour. This unsolicited proposal was quickly doused with water when the government expressed reservations about an airline company building another air terminal.

Another proposal last year was the redevelopment of Sangley Point, which is a mere 20 minutes away from Manila. But this proposal too has not prospered much even as the government has announced that it would have a new international airport ready by 2027 that would replace all the existing NAIA terminals.

Unfortunately, until the first earth is actually moved for any of the mentioned projects, we can safely say all are just hot air meant to call our attention but offers no real solution or remedy. 

2014 National Collegiate Championship – Elite Eight

The Elite Eight stage of Champions League 2014 National Collegiate Championship was conducted from Nov. 13 to 17 at the Cebu City Coliseum, with five of the finest teams from Manila visiting Cebu and competing against the three best teams of Southern Islands.

On top of the standings after four days of the historic showdown between Manila’s finest and the best of Cebu are 2013 national collegiate champion De La Salle Green Archers with two victories, and five-peat NCAA champion San Beda College Red Lions with one win. The other Manila teams, Far Eastern U Tamaraws and Arellano U Chiefs, are still looking for their first win.

Two Cebu teams, the University of San Carlos Warriors and University of Visayas Green Lancers, are still in the running for the premier four slots with one loss each. The SWU Cobras, however, are out of contention with three successive losses to the DLSU Green Archers, USC Warriors and National U Bulldogs.

The Elite Eight teams are divided into two groups: Group A is composed of National U, DLSU, Arellano U and USC. In Group B are SBC, SWU, FEU and UV. Group A teams compete against Group B teams, and the four top teams out of the eight advance to Premier Four stage.

After Cebu City, the remaining Elite Eight games would be held at Ynares Sports Center, Pasig City, starting Nov. 21, 2014, with live television coverage over ABS-CBN Sports and Action channel.

The Champions League 2014 National Collegiate Championship is sponsored by media partners, ABS-CBN and Philippine Star, Phoenix Petroleum, Molten Balls, Fil-Oil Flying V Sports, Fog City Creamery and Foccacia. Tickets are available at SM Tickets online.

Visit the PCCL website (CollegiateChampionsLeague.net) for more details/information on the National Collegiate Championship and like our official Facebook fan page (Philippine College Champions League).

Facebook and Twitter

We are actively using two social networking websites to reach out more often and even interact with and engage our readers, friends and colleagues in the various areas of interest that I tackle in my column. Please like us at www.facebook.com and follow us at www.twitter.com/ReyGamboa.

Should you wish to share any insights, write me at Link Edge, 25th Floor, 139 Corporate Center, Valero Street, Salcedo Village, 1227 Makati City. Or e-mail me at [email protected]. For a compilation of previous articles, visit www.BizlinksPhilippines.net.

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