Palafox bares NAIA 'aerotropolis' masterplan

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 21 2011 11:17 PM | Updated as of Oct 23 2011 07:33 AM

MANILA, Philippines – A prominent architect has expressed disappointment at the criticism that Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has been getting, especially since a master plan to rehabilitate Terminal 1 of the airport was already commissioned as early as 2004.

Architect Jun Palafox, SGV, and a Japanese consultancy firm worked on the plan for a year during the Arroyo administration.

Palafox said the plan would have extended the terminal's life until 2025.

Under the proposed plan, Palafox said Terminal 1 will be linked to terminals 2 and 3.

“You can walk from one terminal to the other with people-movers, walkalators, escalators and so on. And also maybe a small monorail or something,” he said.

The connection from the terminal to the aircraft will also be seamless, according to Palafox. “’Yung air side, i-improve siya para seamless. ‘Yung connection ng aircraft, derecho ka sa terminal. Tapos there will be more amenities.”

Palafox's plan also included an expansion to accommodate more planes and connections that would have allowed passengers to move between terminals without having to pass through the usually congested roads around them.

Palafox said the idea was to build a controlled and convenient “aerotropolis.”

“Parang one family of buildings, hindi ‘yung chop suey. Isang loop, then interconnected. ‘Yung 25% na land side, we can put airport hotel, restaurants, sleeping quarters, shopping and dining, and other airport-related facilities. That’s the concept of aerotropolis,” he explained.

Palafox said if the plan was implemented, there'd be a refurbished Terminal 1 by now.

He said that his group was already paid more than half for the shelved project, and it seemed that the government knows nothing of it.

“We were paid maybe 70-80%. ‘Yung final payment lang ang hindi binigay. Nagbago-bago ang management ng MIA, mukhang walang continuity at hindi na nila tinuloy ‘yung plano,” said Palafox.

“It’s so frustrating na ganoon ang nangyari,” he added.

NAIA General Manager Jose Hondrado, who felt that NAIA’s “world’s worst airport” tag was unfair, expressed interest in seeing and studying the plan and know if it can still be used.

NAIA Terminal 1 was ranked the world’s worst airport due to poor facilities, bribery and security concerns, according to interactive website The Guide to Sleeping in Airports.

The airport was ranked the 5th worst airport in the world and the worst in Asia last year. -- Report from ANC Business Nightly