Three local airlines to get first crack at NAIA Terminal 3

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 19 2008 01:01 AM | Updated as of Jun 19 2008 09:01 AM

Three local airlines have committed to transfer to Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) when the facility opens next month to initially service domestic flights, Transportation and Communication Secretary Leandro Mendoza said Wednesday.

The PAL Express, Cebu Pacific and Air Philippines will initially use the mothballed facility, he said.

"We will use NAIA 3 for domestic flights on a dry-run basis. We will see if all the computers and systems are working. In fact, Cebu Pacific has started to transfer there already. PAL Express likewise confirmed and Air Philippines as well. They will set up their phone lines, ticketing booths, and baggage counters there," Mendoza told reporters.

But Cebu Pacific vice-president for marketing and product Candice Iyog said in a text message that the low-cost carrier has yet to transfer its domestic operation there. "As of the moment nothing is formally confirmed and we have not made any moves to transfer," she said.

Mendoza declined to give the exact date on the opening of NAIA 3.

He said the current domestic airport will be occupied by other carriers after it is completely renovated.

"We are renovating the old domestic airport and even Terminal 1. The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) reported to us that we are averaging 23 million domestic and international passengers a year but the actual capacity of the airports is only 18 million," said Mendoza.

The NAIA currently handles 90 percent of international traffic and 75 of all international and domestic traffic.

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Alfonso Cusi earlier said NAIA 3 will initially cater to domestic flights before it gradually shifts to become an international airport.

"We shall pursue a deliberate strategy of partial or phased opening, starting with domestic flight operations and subsequently shifting to international flight operations on a selective basis," he said.

Cusi said MIAA is drafting strategic policies and is in discussions with local airlines in exhausting all possible options for the realization of actual flight operations at NAIA 3 for a safer, more orderly and more convenient air travel.