THE GOVERNMENT will transfer a number of foreign airlines’ operations from Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 (NAIA-1) to Terminal 3 (NAIA-3) in April to alleviate congestion in the older terminal.
“We are transferring big airlines to Terminal 3 to bring back Terminal 1 to its design capacity,” Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio A. Abaya told BusinessWorld via text message.
Mr. Abaya said that the planned transfer will be done by end-March or April.
The DoTC chief noted that the agency has yet to meet with the airlines to discuss and finalize the terms of the planned transfer.
“We are going to meet the airline operators next week,” Mr. Abaya said.
According to him, the government plans to reduce the passenger load of NAIA-1 by almost half, from 8 million people to its original design capacity of 4.5 million.
Over the weekend, NAIA was proclaimed the 8th worst airport in the world by American financial media outfit Wall St. Cheat Sheet, citing a 2011 article on the “world’s most hated airports” on the CNN Travel Web site.
But, work is on its way, Mr. Abaya said, assuring the public that the airport would see improvements this year.
“We are addressing it by rehabilitating NAIA-1 in which we have DMCI Holdings, Inc. as the general contractor, [Leandro V.] Locsin and Associates as the architectural firm, TCGI, Inc. for the construction management services and Cobonpue-Layug-Pineda as airport design consultants,” Mr. Abaya said.
“Works will start third week this month,” he added.
Last September, the government made an initial $8-million payment for the $40-million contract bagged by Takenaka Corp. in August to complete NAIA-3’s system works.
The works include baggage handling, flight information displays, computer terminals, gate coordination, and fire protection systems, among others.
“I personally went there last week to get a briefing and firm up deadlines and resolve things. I plan to visit NAIA-3 every other week,” Mr. Abaya said.
“They (Takenaka) are holding on the July 2014 deadline,” he said.
He also noted that NAIA-3 operates only at 52% capacity.
“It will be 100% by July this year,” Mr. Abaya said. — Lorenz Christoffer S. Marasigan
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