HOUSE Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has asked regulatory agencies supervising the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to decongest the airport by transferring excess domestic flights to the Clark International Airport in Pampanga.
Alvarez gave the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and the airlines 45 days to implement this, or the airlines could risk cancellation of their congressional franchise.
He said this should ease congestion of passengers and air traffic at NAIA, which is happening because airport regulatory agencies allowed the "mixed use" of the terminals of the said airport.
During the House committee on transportation's deliberation on the resolution directing the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the MIAA to present a rationalization program at the terminals in NAIA, Alvarez lamented how passengers suffer from poor services.
He appealed to the airport authorities to prioritize first the convenience of the public.
"Wag naman sana ma-sacrifice yung mga pasahero like yung Terminal 3 pag peak hours wala ng upuan e nakaupo na lang sa sahig (The passengers should not suffer. In Terminal 3, the people have to squat on the floor during peak hours because there are not enough seats)," he said.
"Hindi dapat ganun, if the terminal can accomodate only so much, yun lang (That should not be the case. The terminal should accommodate only up to its programmed capacity)," he added.
Alvarez gave the MIAA 45 days to put their operations in order. He urged the airlines and other stakeholders to comply or face possible cancellation of their franchises.
Alvarez said that it is only in the Philippines where mixed use of airports is allowed. He noted that terminals designed for domestic traffic also cater to international flights and terminals designed for international flights are used for domestic flights.
“Hindi pwede ngayon yan. Kung ano yung tama yun ang gawin natin. So kung domestic yan, domestic yan. Ngayon kung kulang, so be it. Ilipat mo sa Clark yung ibang flights (That should not be allowed. Domestic terminals should be for domestic flights. If the terminal could not accommodate all flights, the excess should be transferred to Clark),” Alvarez said.
Alvarez said there is a big difference in the design between a domestic and an international airport.
“Yung domestic terminal walang provision for immigration. Kaya pag may dumadating (na international flight) sa Terminal 2 ang haba ng pila. Doon naman sa Terminal 3 na dinesign with provision for immigration eh wala naman gumagamit, kasi ginagamit na domestic,” Alvarez noted.
“So halimbawa hindi mo na kayang i-accommodate yan, tanggihan mo na, tama na. And that way male-lessen natin yung traffic even sa runways. Because no matter how we build terminals, if the runway cannot accommodate wala rin, it’s useless. So siguro i-reduce mo na yung flights,” Alvarez added.
Lance Gokongwei, Cebu Pacific, Inc. president, appealed to the Speaker and asked for time so his company can comply with the order.
“Respectfully sir, given the way we sell tickets one year in advance and also the time it requires to move all our people and (do) the ground preparations, I think these drastic steps may take over a year of planning,” Gokongwei said.
Alvarez, however, threw out his excuse and instead urged the committee to form an oversight body to monitor whether the airlines are complying with the directive. (SunStar Philippines)