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EDITORIAL - A better airport terminal

(The Philippine Star) - June 3, 2014 - 12:00am

The word as of yesterday was that by August, five foreign airlines would start using the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 – a move that is seen to ease chronic congestion at the main NAIA terminal.

The NAIA 3 has been mired in controversy from the start. Foreign carriers, wary of becoming entangled in the legal dispute between Manila and German airport operator Fraport AG, have refused to move into the more spacious and modern Terminal 3. Airport officials, however, announced yesterday that Cathay Pacific, Delta Airlines, Emirates, KLM and Singapore Airlines would transfer to NAIA 3 by August.

If the transfer pushes through, it would spare passengers of the five carriers from the awful ventilation and other discomforts at Terminal 1 as the facility undergoes renovation.

The transfer, however, would still not solve congestion and consequent flight delays on the lone tarmac of the country’s main airport. Heavy traffic on the tarmac, as airport officials admitted, is aggravated by the absence of night operation capability in several key provincial airports, forcing airlines to take off and land only during daylight hours.

An air navigation system that includes facilities for night landing, to be provided by a group from Japan, France and New Zealand, was only recently re-initiated after an interminable review by transportation officials. The delay, which may cost taxpayers millions, means many more months of waiting for the night landing facilities to be in place.

If the transfer of the five carriers pushes through, it will at least mean fewer passengers using the NAIA 1, where the renovation has aggravated congestion. The transfer is two months away – enough time to see to it that NAIA 3 will provide better services than the older terminal. This means efficient document processing, better lavatories and communication facilities, and a much better ventilation system. Transport officials should also be reminded that airports need closed-circuit television systems both inside and outside buildings.

Officials should make sure NAIA 3 can give travelers a better image of Philippine airports. With NAIA 1 as the point of comparison, this shouldn’t prove too hard.

 

AIRPORT BETTER CATHAY PACIFIC DELTA AIRLINES FRANCE AND NEW ZEALAND FRAPORT MANILA AND GERMAN NAIA OFFICIALS SINGAPORE AIRLINES TRANSFER
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