NAIA no longer worst airport – travelers’ poll

Lawrence Agcaoili - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - With the expanded operations of a third terminal and renovations of the old one, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is no longer the world’s worst airport, sliding to fourth spot after topping the list for the past three years.

 A survey conducted by “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports” on www.sleepinginairports.net on Wednesday named the Islamabad Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Pakistan as the worst airport in the world.

Second worst was Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport in Saudi Arabia followed by Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport in Nepal.

In Asia, the NAIA  improved to third place, with Pakistan’s Islamabad airport topping the list of Asia’s worst airports, followed by Nepal’s Kathmandu airport.

The survey conducted between September 2013 and August 2014 showed the ranking of NAIA-1 improving to fourth after three years at the top of worst airports lists.

“Manila NAIA saw a slight improvement in its ranking as a result of increased positive votes for its Terminal 3,” the survey said.

Completing the list of Top 10 worst airports in the world are Tashkent international airport in Uzbekistan; the Paris Beauvais-Tille international airport in France; the Frankfurt Hahn international airport in Germany; the Bergamo Orio al Serio in Italy; the Berlin Tegel in Germany; and the New York City La Guardia international airport in the US.

The Philippines’ main gateway was voted the worst airport in the world for 2013 after getting the dubious distinction two years ago.

The website, however, noted the government’s efforts to improve NAIA-1 and decongest its operations to NAIA-3. This apparently influenced the voting in the survey that led to NAIA-1 moving to fourth place in the global ranking.

The US website The Cheat Sheet also said the ongoing upgrades and renovations at the NAIA provide the “good news.”

The Cheat Sheet earlier this month voted NAIA-1 as the world’s worst airport, citing the airport staff being impolite to passengers and long waiting times to be processed.

Aside from NAIA-1, the US website named Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Begamo Orio al Serio Airport, New York’s La Guardia Airport, Zurich International Airport, N’Djamena International Airport in Chad, Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport, Little Rock Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport and Calcutta Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport as the worst airports in the world.

Taking notice

This year, in an effort to lose its title of being the “laggard of Asia,” as a survey respondent in Sleeping in Airports described it, the long awaited rehabilitation of NAIA-1 finally commenced.

The voting in Sleeping in Airports was based on comfort of passengers, convenience, cleanliness and customer service.

Comfort, or lack thereof, means crowded terminals, uncomfortable and limited seating options and unpleasant temperatures.

Conveniences, or lack thereof, include nonexistent 24-hour food options, a shortage of activities to do during a layover or delay and lack of WiFi access.

Cleanliness, or lack thereof, refers to dirty floors, smelly bathrooms and untidy food courts.

The category of customer service, or lack thereof, is all about unhelpful-to-unfriendly staff and anti-airport sleeping policies.

Sleeping In Airports described NAIA-1 as a dirty, crowded, noisy, extremely hot airport with not enough seats for even half of the people waiting.

The Cheat Sheet also cited the inability of NAIA-1 to accommodate passengers.

It said NAIA-1 is designed to accommodate only six million passengers while an average of 32 million use its facilities each year.

Adding to an already lengthy list of traveler complaints, NAIA-1 in April became Asia’s largest public sauna when its air-conditioning system broke down. – Rudy Santos


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