The future NAIA

BUSINESS SNIPPETS - Marianne Go - The Philippine Star

A world-class Ninoy Aquino International Airport is soon to become a reality following the takeover of the airport by the San Miguel Corp.-led consortium by Sept. 14 this year, according to Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista.

In an interview before he had to leave for Singapore Friday night to accompany his wife for a medical check-up, Secretary Bautista gave the assurance that the takeover would proceed as scheduled by September, even as the SMC consortium complies with post-award activities, including re-offer of employment to NAIA employees and meeting several “conditions precedent,” including the inventory of airport equipment.

The final date for the turnover, he said, would be “Sept. 14, or even earlier.”

According to the DOTr Secretary, one of the safeguards they negotiated with SMC is the assurance that employees of the NAIA would get their retirement pay while at the same time being assured of a re-offer of employment. He pointed out that the employment safeguard would be especially beneficial to NAIA contractuals who would then have a better chance of employment.

As agreed with the SMC consortium, all NAIA employees would be paid their retirement package upon the takeover. However, the NAIA employees would also be automatically accepted as new probationary applicants subject to a performance review.

“We made sure to protect the rights of the NAIA employees,” Bautista said, noting that the SMC consortium is also keenly aware of the need to retain and hire qualified people who are already familiar with airport operations.

Optimization of NAIA air traffic

In a presentation Bautista was supposed to deliver during the Business Journalism Seminar organized by the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines at the Forest Lodge in Camp John Hay in Baguio Saturday, Bautista outlined some of the key plans of the New NAIA Infra Corp. or NNIC, the special purpose company formed by the SMC-led consortium.

Bautista’s presentation was presented by his executive assistant Jonathan Geismundo.

First and foremost, to increase NAIA’s air traffic movement from the current 40 movements per hour to 48 per hour, Bautista said that the NNIC plans to install various systems that include: An electronic flight strips system which is part of the modernization of the communication, navigation and surveillance systems for air traffic management; an automated weather observation system; an advanced surface movement and ground control system and an automated terminal information.

Likewise, Bautista said, NNIC had agreed to activate the long-inoperable aircraft visual guidance docking system that is very useful at night and during red lightning storms, enabling automated docking of aircraft to their assigned gates without need for marshals who are exposed to risks of extreme heat or bad weather.

The NNIC additionally, the DOTr head revealed, would integrate in a new single digital remote apron tower facility to be built near Terminal 3 the current apron control operation of the four terminals. One of the existing control towers, however, would be retained as a backup control tower.

An arrival manager, Bautista elaborated, would be incorporated into the existing air traffic management system to optimize high-intensity single runway operations, enabling air traffic controllers to efficiently sequence landings that would allow aircraft take-offs to be interwoven with landings. This would be complemented with the installation of an advanced surface movement and ground control system at all control towers that would considerably improve management of ground vehicle and aircraft movement.

Renovation, integration of terminals

As for the passenger terminals, NNIC’s plans include the expansion of two of the four terminals, specifically Terminals 2 and 3 while Terminal 1 would be rehabilitated and Terminal 4 would be repurposed as a warehouse and administration offices. Passenger capacity is projected to accommodate up to 60 million passengers, double that of the current capacity of just 32 million.

The expansion of Terminal 2 would involve extending the north wing of the terminal toward the former Nayong Pilipino cultural park and the shuttered Philippine Village Hotel that the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) has allowed to be demolished (GSIS owns the building although the land is owned by the Manila International Airport Authority).

There are also plans to put up an airport express hotel near Terminal 2 and the construction of a new access road.

The south wing of Terminal 2 would likewise be extended toward Terminal 1 after the international cargo complex and the fuel farm are relocated. The current passenger capacity of Terminal 2 is just nine million. After the expansion, its passenger capacity would increase to 32 million.

Plans for the Terminal 3 north concourse expansion would bump up the passenger capacity from the current 14 million to 25 million. More importantly, the expanded Terminal 3 is intended to provide access to the future Metro Manila subway that will be built at the current parking lot in front of the terminal.

The expansion of the three terminals would also involve the repair and replacement of the passenger boarding bridges, upgrade or replacement of the baggage handling system, improvement of inter-terminal passenger and baggage transfer, construction of new surface access and airside roads, as well as improvement of passenger pick-up and drop-off flow and improvement of the existing automated terminal information system and vital communication systems.

Vehicle parking outside of Terminals 1 and 3 would also be addressed, doubling the number of parking slots to 12,400 from the current 5,800 slots. A multi-level car park will also be built at Terminal 1 while a new five-level car park will be added to the existing car park.

As for aircraft parking, the NNIC also plans to designate a new remote apron for general aviation that would increase aircraft parking to 104 bays from the existing 61.


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