NAIA capacity seen rising to 32 million

By Lenie Lectura, Business Mirror

Posted at Feb 23 2009 11:14 PM | Updated as of Feb 24 2009 07:46 AM

The capacity to handle passenger traffic at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) complex will increase to 32 million this year, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said on Monday.

Domestic and international passengers recorded at Terminals 1, 2, 3 as well as the domestic airport stood at 22 million last year. This year, the MIAA is expecting a 5-percent growth in domestic passenger traffic and anywhere from zero to 2-percent growth in international passenger count.

“Our capacity this year is very much enough to handle the passenger traffic for both international and domestic services,” said MIAA assistant general manager for airport development and corporate affairs Tirso Serrano.

Last year, the NAIA complex handled about 90 percent of all international traffic in the country, and accounted for more than 22 million passengers for both international and domestic movements, which is 75 percent of all passenger movements in the country. Of the 22 million passengers, 11.88 million flew within the country and the remaining 10.4 million accounted for international passengers.

“We believe that the increase in passenger traffic is due to the aggressive marketing and promotional efforts of domestic airlines and also to the opening of Naia Terminal 3, as we are able to accommodate more passengers because of the added space the new facility provides,” said MIAA General manager Alfonso Cusi.

Besides the opening of the Naia Terminal 3, the MIAA has also embarked on other expansion projects such as the renovation of the Terminal 1 arrival lobby and the expansion of existing runway to service wide-bodied airplanes.

In view of the estimated increase in passenger traffic within the next years, the MIAA will also increase the passenger capacity of the holding gates and put into place additional check-in counters.

The Naia complex, said Cusi, would undergo further improvements in the years to come as this is essential to keep up with the demands of stakeholders, airline operators and passengers.

The expansion will focus on capacity-building efforts to better handle the increasing passenger traffic for the next five to 10 years.

The airport authority also plans to develop properties to build new cargo houses that will cater to the expected growth in cargo volume. In the long term, the MIAA is also studying the probability of converting airport properties into attractive and functional airport cities, that will bring in bigger and better businesses closer to the airport complex.

“The Naia will continue to provide its investors and the traveling public with the necessary upgrades in passenger servicing and airline accommodation to provide responsive, dynamic and meaningful services for many years to come,” said Cusi.

“I am delighted to receive some positive feedback lately from passengers and users of Naia who have noticed our humble accomplishments and some improvements. We are joining heads as we aggressively pursue improvements, not only in terms of Terminal maintenance, but also enhancements in key areas such as passenger safety, security and convenience through its new service branding dubbed as the “smiling airport,” added Cusi.

Meanwhile, the MIAA has committed to infuse some P3 billion into the construction of the Panglao Bohol International Airport. It is also extending its assistance in the upgrading and construction of the Caticlan Airport.

“We promise to share decades of expertise of the MIAA/Naia personnel in international and domestic airport management, and we can only be too glad and willing to extend help for the building of the Panglao and Caticlan airports. This will also boost passenger traffic within the country which is pursuant to the objectives and thrust of the national leadership, and will be good for the tourism sectors,” added Cusi.