EDITORIAL - Again, the worst
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - October 20, 2013 - 12:00am

The latest complaints about the sorry state of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s Terminal 1 are nothing new, Malacañang officials said. It was their way of dismissing the selection of the NAIA-1 by a travel website as this year’s world’s worst airport.

It’s true that most of the complaints have been heard before. They were the same ones cited when the NAIA-1 was first picked as the world’s worst airport by the travel site in 2011. This, however, should make the selection worse for the country. It indicates that efforts to address the complaints, listed in “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports,” are moving too slowly to be noticeable.

Some quarters may quibble with the ranking, considering the NAIA-1 much better than the airport in the Somali capital Mogadishu, for example. The travel site also picked the NAIA-1 as the worst airport in Asia. Those who have visited the region’s lesser known destinations will disagree. But it’s better to compare the nation’s facilities with the best rather than the worst. The Asia-Pacific happens to be the home of two airports that have been consistently voted as the world’s best: South Korea’s Incheon International Airport and Singapore’s Changi. Other Asian cities have rushed to compete, among them Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur.

Rather than argue with the NAIA-1 ranking, officials should focus on changing the negative image by speeding up efforts to upgrade the terminal’s facilities. Filipinos who have traveled overseas will agree that the NAIA-1 is not a comfortable, welcoming place for travelers, especially those in transit or whose flights are delayed. Even conflict-torn Baghdad has a better airport.

Philippine authorities should also stop arguing that airports are not meant for sleeping. It betrays ignorance of the evolving requirements of global air travel. The best airports do not sleep. Around the clock they service flights and offer comfortable facilities for travelers who need to rest, whether it’s a half-hour wait or an overnight layover.

Having the world’s worst airport named after his slain father should provide more impetus for President Aquino to see the negative tag removed. Hearing the same old complaints indicates that little is being done about them.

AIRPORT ASIA-PACIFIC CHANGI INCHEON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AND SINGAPORE MALACA OTHER ASIAN PRESIDENT AQUINO SHANGHAI AND KUALA LUMPUR SOUTH KOREA
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