THE Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) expects to accommodate more local carriers to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 next year.
“We’re using this period from August to December (2014) to tweak the system to make sure that they are working and then we can add more airlines,” said MIAA General Manager Jose Angel Honrado on Thursday.
He said they also expect some international airlines to transfer next year. However, he cautioned that they cannot accommodate everyone at the same time. “We should do it slowly,” Honrado said in the vernacular.
Honrado enumerated the carriers that they expect to move to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3: five international airlines, Zest Air, Cebu Pacific, and Sea Air.
In July, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said that the new passenger terminal building may finally be ready for full airline operations.
“Our gateway airport will now be able to welcome 3.5 million more passengers with modern facilities every year, and Terminal 1 will now be considerably decongested to improve passenger convenience,” said DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya in an earlier interview.
The MIAA has informed DOTC that Delta Airlines will have its first flight out of Terminal 3 on August 1, while KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will move within the first week of August. Singapore Airlines, Emirates, and Cathay Pacific will follow suit by the end August. These five carriers have the highest volume of international flights coming into and out of NAIA.
The NAIA-3 project was awarded to a consortium of the Philippine International Air Terminals Co. (Piatco) and German-based airport operator Fraport AG in 1997, and was supposed to be completed in 2002.
A number of legal issues related to the bidding process, subcontracting work, the ownership profile of the consortium, and major changes to the original contract led to the terminal’s expropriation by the Arroyo government in 2004, miring the terminal in legal battles that delayed its opening until 2008, and even then only on a partial basis.
In August last year, Terminal 3’s original contractor, Takenaka Corp. of Japan, was engaged to complete the terminal’s facilities under a $40 million contract regardless of the ongoing cases.
Over the past year, the Japanese firm has undertaken completion works for systems such as flight information displays, computer terminals, gate coordination, landing bridges, and fire protection systems, with about 85 percent of the work being reported as completed as of July 18.
Other systems, such as the building maintenance system, which are not critical to airline operations, are scheduled to be completed within the year.
The transfer of the five airlines is intended to reduce Terminal 1’s annual passenger throughput from the current 8 million down to its design capacity of 4.5 million, easing passenger congestion and speeding up Terminal 1’s ongoing rehabilitation work.
Honrado also said that OMAN and Garuda Airlines will start operating in NAIA 1 but no definite date was set as to when the two International Airlines will start their operations.