Changi interested in Naia 1 rehab

by Lenie Lectura, Business Mirror

Posted at Nov 16 2011 11:28 AM | Updated as of Nov 17 2011 12:46 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Officials of Changi Airport in Singapore are interested in helping the Philippines rehabilitate the 30-year-old Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 (Naia 1) as the transportation department is tapping the services of engineering and design experts to undertake a P1.16-billion rehabilitation of the much-criticized airport.

Changi Airport will send a team before the end of this month to inspect and analyze the site and passenger flows. The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) expects to receive their findings in early January.

Changi has consistently been voted as the No. 1 airport in the world.

Roxas said Changi experts might be able to provide technical assistance on functional design and systems improvement.

Naia 1—voted the world’s worst airport—had its last major makeover in 1996 in time for that year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Leaders’ Summit, or more than 15 years ago.

It was put into service in 1981, with an original design capacity for 4.5 million passengers per year, which it reached in 1991. It currently handles 7.3 million passengers a year.

Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas II said he has received an indicative and near-final report from P-Square, a structural and engineering firm affiliated with the Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines, that Naia 1 requires structural rehabilitation in order to make it conform to 2010 National Structural Code of the Philippines (NSCP).

These structural works—involving the retrofitting of columns and the reinforcing of slabs—are estimated to cost about P340 million.

The agency is also retaining the services of Leandro V. Locsin and Associates, the original architectural and engineering firm that designed Naia 1.

“They are in possession of the ‘as designed’ and ‘as built’ plans and blueprints of the airport. They know the exact location of the duct works, risers, pipes, water drainages and other electro-mechanical configurations of the facility. In short, they know the bituka [guts] of [Naia 1]. We will work with them and avail of their intimate knowledge of the facility,” Roxas said.

“The plan is the result of DOTC’s comprehensive findings of the current condition of Naia 1 facilities,” Roxas said. “We assure the public that we are doing all we can to provide them safe, affordable, reliable and comfortable travel facilities.”

The agency is also setting aside approximately P500 million for aesthetics and interior design of the facility. This will entail replacing the well-worn linoleum floorings, ceiling, walls and partitions.

Part of the plan is to replace the old immigration counters and to add 50 percent more of such counters. Concessionaires will be relocated in order to make more room for passengers.

“Our basic guiding principle in this effort will be function and utility—meaning ease of use for the passengers,” Roxas said.

Another P300 million of the total budget is set aside for the construction of rapid exit taxiway to relieve runway congestion and minimize delays or waiting time for flights.

Currently, the Naia runway system can accommodate 36 take-off or landing per hour, or one every one minute and 40 seconds. Presently, there are about 43 scheduled events per hour; thus delays are inevitable. When completed, the rapid exit taxiway will shorten the runway occupancy time of an aircraft landing. It is expected to increase event capacity from 36 to 41 to 43 events.

The DOTC is also spending P20 million for the repair and rehabilitation of all the 72 toilet facilities in Naia 1, including fixing the lavatories, water closets, urinals and other amenities.