DOTC lauds removal of NAIA in list of 'worst airports'

THE Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) hailed Thursday the removal of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in the list of the world’s worst airports.

However, DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya recognized that much have to be done to further improve the country's premier gateway.

“While we are pleased to hear that international travelers no longer rate NAIA among the world’s worst, there is obviously still a lot for us to do. Having fully opened Terminal 3 and substantially refurbishing Terminal 1 after decades of neglect, our next focus is decongesting the runway,” he said.

The Guide to Sleeping in Airports released on October 17 the list of "Worst Airports in the World 2015" and NAIA was no longer on the list.

For the past years, NAIA had been included in the list.

Abaya said it took around two years from 2011 to 2013 to unravel the legal complications which prevented Terminal 3 from fully operating, but its resolution paved the way for the transfer of 3.5 million annual passengers from the run-down, overcapacity Terminal 1 to the more modern Terminal 3 building in 2014.

With Terminal 1 restored to its design capacity of 4.5 million yearly passengers, major rehabilitation was undertaken beginning in 2014, most notably through structural retrofitting which ensured the continued safety and integrity of the facility, and the improvement of the mechanical, electrical, and fire protection systems.

Architectural works were also performed, considerably reimaging the airport with a sleeker look and better services, the DOTC chief said.

Abaya said three of the country's airports made it to list of the top 30 best airports in Asia: Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) landed in 18th place, Iloilo Airport was ranked 21st, and Clark International Airport snagged 24th place.

"MCIA has been getting recognition for vastly improved services and facilities, after evident upgrades were implemented by GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC)," he said.

“This is just the beginning of our airport modernization efforts. The coming years will certainly be exciting as world-class terminals will rise in Mactan-Cebu and Clark; a new international airport will be opened in Panglao and a vastly-improved airport will be launched in Puerto Princesa; and the Davao, Iloilo, Bacolod, and Laguindingan airports will be expanded and their operations upgraded,” Abaya said. (SDR/Sunnex)
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