MANILA, Philippines - Five foreign airlines are scheduled to transfer their operations to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport terminal 3 (NAIA3) in August upon the completion of the ongoing P1.9 billion retrofitting and rehabilitation project, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said.
DOTC undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla said foreign airlines expected to move to NAIA3 in August include Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, KLM, and Delta Airlines.
With the transfer of five foreign airlines, he said the number of foreign airlines operating in NAIA3 would increase to six as All Nippon Airways (ANA) is already operating in the terminal.
“They (airlines) have to do a lot of things such as construction of lounges and offices. I think they will transfer around August,” he stressed.
Lotilla revealed that the P1.9 billion rehabilitation of NAIA3 being undertaken by the Takenaka Corp. of Japan is already 62 percent complete.
He pointed out that the project is expected to be completed in July ahead of the August schedule.
The rehabilitation works at NAIA3 include baggage handling, flight information displays, computer terminals, gate coordination, and fire protection systems, among others to allow a faster and more pleasant experience for passengers flying in and out of Manila.
The objective of the rehabilitation of both NAIA1 and NAIA3 is to bring NAIA1 back to its design capacity of around four to 4.5 million from the current eight million.
“We will be reducing the number of users of NAIA1 from the present eight million so it will now be back to its rated capacity of 4.5 million,” Lotilla said.
He added that the P1.3 billion rehabilitation of NAIA1 being undertaken by construction giant DM Consunji Inc. (DMCI) is expected to be completed as scheduled in January next year in time for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit.
Based on latest data from the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), the number of domestic and international passengers increased 3.1 percent to 32.865 million last year from 31.877 million in 2012.
The number of arriving and departing domestic passengers at NAIA slipped slightly to 17.689 million from 17.738 million due to several flight cancellations due to weather disturbances led by Super Typhoon Yolanda that battered provinces in the Visayas last Nov. 8.
On the other hand, international passenger traffic reached 15.176 million last year or 7.3 percent higher compared to 14.14 million in 2012 as the number of international flights increased 9.9 percent to 87,629 from 79,685.
Wall St. Cheat Sheet, a United States financial media company, has ranked NAIA eighth among the 10 Worst Airports in the World, citing overcapacity issues in terminals 1 and 3.
According to the report posted online, the 10 worst airports are known for their “smelly bathrooms, long lines and rude staff.” It described NAIA’s terminals 1 and 3 as “particularly crammed.”
The DOTC is looking at putting into operation a new international airport by 2027 with the joint development of NAIA in Manila and the Clark International Airport in Pampanga as a study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) showed that the number of passengers in Greater Capital Region would hit 106.7 million by 2040 from 31.88 million in 2012.