Elevated Walkway, ASEAN Airline & PAL’s B777


NAIA Walkway

NAIA Terminals 1 and 2 will soon be connected by an elevated walkway. Philippine Airlines will shoulder the 250 million peso cost of building the 400 meter walkway. Lucio Tan had already agreed to underwrite the project but the proposal still needs the regulatory approval of Manila International Airport Authority.

Image result for AirAsia

AirAsia

Asia’s largest LCC, AirAsia, plans to create an ASEAN airline that will house Malaysia’s AirAsia Bhd, Thai AirAsia and the soon-to-be-listed Indonesia AirAsia and Philippines AirAsia. According to AirAsia’s chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, AirAsia’s affiliates in Indonesia and Philippines already appointed bankers in their respective countries to work on the planned initial public offering (IPO).

AirAsia Group will form the holding company once the Indonesian and Philippines affiliates joined AirAsia Bhd and Thai AirAsia in the listing club.

Image result for philippine airlines logo

Philippine Airlines

Starting December, PAL will increase flight frequencies to:

MNL – LAX twice daily

MNL – SFO from 11 to 14 flights a week

YVR – JFK from 4 to 5 flights a week

This is made possible due to the arrival PAL’s 7th Boeing 777-300ER aircraft this month. By December, another Boeing 777-300ER is expected to join the fleet. The B777-300ER has a seating capacity of 376 seats.

CEB-LAX route, on the other hand, will still be flown by the 254 seat-Airbus 340 aircraft. The A340 will also be used as standby aircraft to fly to Australia and Honolulu.

Advertisements

Philippine Airlines SFO Flights To Use NAIA T1 Starting 8 December


MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Airlines (PAL) flights arriving from San Francisco will temporarily be transferred to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 starting Tuesday (December 8).

According to PAL external communications head and spokesperson Cielo Villaluna, all San Francisco to Manila flights of the flag carrier will be using Terminal 1 instead of the NAIA Terminal 2, which is basically PAL’s base of operations.  Passengers of other arriving international flights will still disembark at the NAIA Terminal 2.

She explained that the change, which would take effect from December 8 to March 24, would ease the effects of the peak travel period.  The move to use both Terminals 1 and 2, she said, would reduce passenger congestion at Terminal 2.

Villaluna has assured passengers of the affected SFO-MNL flights PR105 and PR115 they will be advised of the new terminal assignments through email and onboard announcements.

PAL passengers, who are arriving at NAIA Terminal 1, with connecting flights at Terminals 2 or 3 will be assisted by the flag carrier’s ground staff upon disembarkation.

They will be guided by PAL’s ground staff to the NAIA Terminal 1 transfer area where shuttle buses for Terminals 2 and 3 are waiting.

PAL’s airport staff will accompany and continue to assist the arrivals from San Francisco en route to the other terminals for their domestic or international connecting flights, according to Villaluna.

Over 746,000 arriving and departing international and domestic passengers passed through the NAIA terminal 2 in December last year, compared to 743,000 in 2013.

Source: Jeannette Andrade, inquirer.net

The New(ly) Renovated Duty Free Philippines @ NAIA Terminal 1


State-owned Duty Free Philippines (DFP) recently unveiled its renovated Departure and Arrival duty-free stores at Ninoy Aquino International airport (NAIA) new terminal one in Pasay City.

DFP’s duty-free outlets in NAIA T3 also underwent major renovations to cater to the increase in passenger traffic due to the relocation of major airlines such as Delta, KLM Royal Dutch, Emirates, Singapore Air and Cathay Pacific.

World-renowned design team Sounda Design Inc. led by architect Frederic Chevassus and designer Philippe Larosse transformed the perfumes, cosmetics and fashion areas’ into an elegant and more functional space adopting an aerodynamic concept using aircraft details, such as a plane’s wings and propeller, as inspirations. The new layout aims to project the airport outlet as inviting from all sides of the store perimeter, drawing the target customer into the interior. Sounda Design Inc. is based in Taiwan and Hong Kong and specializes in architectural planning, interior design and construction.

The stores were redesigned to achieve a more attractive, dynamic and functional retail environment to cater to the discerning taste of its shoppers, made up of international travelers, tourists and balikbayans (arriving Filipino residents).

Along with thestores’ cutting-edge design, state-of-the-art interiors and amenities, DFP has also assembled an impressive line-up of the world’s best travel-retail brands that cater to international travelers.

Top perfumery, cosmetics and fashion brands such as Calvin Klein, Estee Lauder, Lancome, Bulgari, Christian Dior, Clinique, Clarins, L’Occitane, La Prairie, SK-II and Lacoste are expected to attract both new and loyal customers.  The other highly in-demand duty free product categories still house the usual best-selling brands; such as Cadbury, Hershey’s, M&M’s, Toblerone and Nestle for confectionery, Johnnie Walker, Chivas Regal, Jack Daniels, Hennessy, Ballantines,  Remy Martin and Macallan for liquor and spirits;  Michael Kors, Anne Klein, Skagen, Cerruti and Armani for watches; among many others.

A special “brand experience” awaits jet-setters as  luxury fashion boutiques feature at both terminals, specifically Coach, Salvatore Ferragamo, Longchamp, and Chloe. Aside from these designer brands of top quality leather goods and fashion accessories, DFP also houses an extensive range of the popular Kiehl’s beauty products while a Pandora boutique, is set to open soon.

“Store development and product expansion are endeavors perennially on DFP’s priority list. Aside from meeting the high standards of its target customers, these ensure that DFP stores keep pace with the dynamism and sophistication of the international travel-retail industry,” the retailer said in a statement.

DFP is an attached agency of the country’s Tourism Department and its earnings accrue to the DOT to help support the Philippines’ tourism infrastructure, programs and projects.

DFP-620x330

Photo of NAIA T1 departure fragrances 150x150

Photo of NAIA T1 departure coach 150x150

Photo of NAIA T1 departure 3 150x150

Photo of NAIA T1 departure longchamp chloe ferragamo 150x150

Photo of NAIA T1 departure longchamp chloe 150x150

Photo of NAIA T1 departure 1 150x150

Source: http://www.dfnionline.com

NAIA Terminal 1 Fully Rehabilitated And Operational By May 2015 – Abaya


MANILA – The ongoing rehabilitation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 will be finalized before May 2015, or a few months’ later than its projected completion of January 2015, but the delay is acceptable, said Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Secretary Emilio Abaya.

Abaya revealed this after conducting an ocular inspection on the progress of the billion-peso rehabilitation project Tuesday, and expressed satisfaction with the work thus far. He also issued directives to improve services at the airport right away, but stressed that a slight delay in completion would be fine with the agency given that the terminal is quite old and certain unforeseen problems or defects could arise in the course of the rehabilitation.

Abaya arrived at the Terminal 1 around 11 a.m. Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) Senior Assistant General Manager Vicente Guerzon, Terminal 1 manager Dante Basanta and DMCI senior project manager Alfredo Juan de Villa updated him on ongoing renovations.

Abaya said that he is satisfied enough with the development of NAIA 1: the “basic component of a good airport is there; it is much better and I think we can improve the interior by working with interior designers but structurally the good airport is there.”

He noted that Terminal 1 is structurally equipped with buckling resistance braces, a metal diagonally erected on building posts that can withstand natural disasters such as earthquakes. Most contractors use these in new buildings.

During the inspection, Abaya directed Terminal 1 manager Dante Basanta to add more lights in every toilet and immediately repair the escalator at the pre-departure area which outbound passengers use in going to the departure lounge with their hand- carry luggage.

He also inspected the newly built airline counters with new conveyor belts and digital check-in computers.

The NAIA Terminal 1 repairs began on January 20, 2014, and should be completed in January next year; however, Abaya admitted that some technical problems had generated delays and said that a 45-days delay in a multimillion project like this is tolerable, considering that one never knows what specific defects are inside a 30-year old structure like this.

“Unlike with a new building being erected, everything is in the plan. But in an improvement project, certain things may surface that were not in the plan,” Abaya added.

“It is such a big facility, you can never pin down the final date of completion especially when you are rehabilitating,” Abaya said.

When asked about his reaction to the latest online survey listing NAIA terminal 1 as the fourth worst airport, he quickly reacted that the survey from the very start was inaccurate.

He pointed out that NAIA terminal 1 can only accommodate 13 million passengers annually, but the online survey stated that the old terminal was accommodating 32 million passengers a year.

But he stressed that what is really unacceptable is the survey’s description of the airport personel as rude and undisciplined.

“For the first time you are seeing somebody describing Filipinos as being rude, disrespectful and discourteous. Would you accept that we are rude as a people? Anyone, even media will not accept Filipinos being branded as discourteous,” Abaya asked.

Tacloban airport updates

Asked on the progress of the Tacloban airport rehabilitation, Abaya said the 2.1-kilometer runway rehabilitation will be fully operational by either December 21 or 22 this year just in time for the arrival of Pope Francis on January 17,2015.

He said that by then, the CAAP- operated Tacloban airport will be operational for bigger-single-aisles aircraft like Airbus A320 or Boeing B737 jets, allowing more travelers to be accommodated on flights.

Currently, only turbo propeller-driven aircraft are allowed to operate due to the ongoing repair of the runway; with Cebu Pacific using ATR-type aircraft that can only accommodate a maximum of 72 passengers, and PALExpress with their Q3 aircraft, which can only accommodate a maximum of 54 passengers.

Source:

Honrado: NAIA Not Capable of Daily A380 Flights


The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) may have handled the recent one-off flight of Emirates’ Airbus A380 aircraft  from Dubai the other day but authorities said the country’s premiere international gateway is not capable of accommodating the world’s largest commercial passenger aircraft on a regular basis.

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Angel Honrado admitted that with NAIA’s limited capacity, accommodating regular A380 flights will “cause a lot of inconvenience and delay for other scheduled flights.”

Honrado

Due to the size of the wide-bodied aircraft, MIAA could only allow an A380 on the runway while a smaller plane is on the taxiway or vice versa. Capt. Franklin Desiderio, who flew the first commercial A380 flight to Manila last Tuesday, even urged NAIA authorities to study the possibility of letting an A380 run alongside an A320.

But Honrado said Desiderio’s suggestion could not be done.

“It could not be done because the clearance between the center line of the runway and taxiway does not conform to the safety requirement of wing-tip-to-wing-tip clearance,” he explained.

But if Emirates will soon decide to deploy A380 aircrafts to the Philippines, it would be required to land in Clark International Airport (CIA) instead.

“The air service agreement between the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates is very clear, when any of the two UAE carriers want to mount regular flights to the Philippines using A380, they can only fly via Clark,” said Jose Victor Luciano of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), referring to Emirates and Etihad Airways.

Formerly the president of Clark International Airport Corp., Luciano said an A380 aircraft has already landed in Clark in 2007 during the proving flight of Airbus Industries. Luciano however disclosed that passenger traffic in Clark is not high enough to fill the two-decker A380, which seats 427 economy class passengers on the main deck as well as 76 business class and 14 first class passengers.

Emirates has already mounted direct flights between Dubai and Clark but eventually suspended the route last May, citing intense competition and high excise tax imposed on jet fuel for international flights.

Airlines operating out of CIA include Tiger Airways, Cebu Pacific, Jin Air, Asiana, Dragaon Air and Qatar Airways.

On a related development, the government is keen on bidding out next year the contract to construct a multi-billion peso terminal for low cost carriers or budget airlines in Clark, according to Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.

To recall, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) had tapped Aeroports de Paris (ADP) to prepare a master plan for Clark aerotropolis and a feasibility study for the budget terminal.

“We are fine-tuning the feasibility study that ADP submitted to us. We are confident that we could bid it out next year,” Abaya said.

Source: Kris Bayos, MB

Oman Air & Garuda To Operate at NAIA 1


Garuda-Indonesia

MANILA – At least two foreign airlines are looking at flying out of Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 (NAIA1) ahead of its rehabilitation, according to state-run Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA).

Jose Angel Honrado, MIAA general manager last week told reporters that the agency approved the request of Oman Air and Garuda Airlines to operate at NAIA1, “but, I don’t know when they will start. I think as soon as possible.”

Honrado said the rehabilitation of NAIA1 will be finished by the first quarter of 2015.

To recall, Malacanang approved the structural retrofitting and rehabilitation of NAIA1 at a cost of P1.16 billion. Of the total amount, P340 million will be used to improve the structural integrity of the NAIA 1 building, while P500 million has been allocated for architectural, engineering, and interior design and works to improve the internal facilities.

To address runway congestion, P300 million will be used for the construction of a rapid exit taxiway. Another P20 million is allocated for the complete rehabilitation of 72 toilets.

Honrado said more foreign airlines are expected to transfer to NAIA3 by next year.

“We are using this period from August to December to find out and to tweak on the system to make sure that the systems and the we can add more. The Terminal 3 can accept more, ” he said.

Honrado said Cebu Pacific and AirAsia Zest are expected to add more flights out of NAIA 3 in the first quarter of next year.

At present, 5 foreign airlines are transferring from NAIA1 to NAIA3, namely Delta Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, and Cathay Pacific.

The transfer of these airlines is meant to decongest NAIA1, which is undergoing structural retrofitting and rehabilitation.

The transfer of the 5 airlines will reduce Terminal 1’s annual passenger throughput from 8 million down to its design capacity of 4.5 million. This will free up more space at Terminal 1 and reduce the number of travelers.

Source: Darwin G. Amojelar, InterAksyon.com

Ninoy Aquino Int’l Airport: Contingency Measures Activated In Case of Bad Weather


NAIA Terminal 1 under renovation.
NAIA Terminal 1 under renovation.

MANILA, Philippines—Authorities at Ninoy Aquino International Airport have begun designing contingency measures to ensure passenger safety and welfare following the onset of the rainy season.

Manila International Airport Authority general manager Jose Angel Honrado convened the Weather Disturbance Management Committee on Friday to discuss overall direction and control procedures during bad weather, which is considered a crisis situation by aviation authorities.

Included in the meeting were MIAA senior officials and managers of NAIA’s four terminals.

Honrado, the committee chair, specifically directed the terminal managers to convene their respective emergency response teams.

“They are mandated under MIAA guidelines on severe and extreme weather disturbances to carry out emergency procedures in their areas of responsibility in accordance with the airport emergency plan. Under the guidelines, the terminal Manager is the ERT (emergency response team) chief,” Honrado said.

As ERT chief, the terminal manager takes command during Storm Signal No. 2-4, and/or under yellow, orange and red alerts imposed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

Each ERT is composed of the following groups with corresponding responsibilities:

•  Evacuation Group guides tenants in evacuation to a safe place and holding area. It is led by the terminal safety, operations and public affairs groups;

•  Medical & First Aid Group  renders immediate first aid assistance in case of injuries. It is led by the Medical Division;

•  Security Group secures the terminal premises and and provides crowd control. It is led by the Terminal Police Division;

•  Facilities Group ensures that all facilities and equipment remain operational during severe weather conditions.

At the meeting Honrado also ordered the terminal managers to ensure that target completion dates were met for projects that could pose problems during the rainy season if left unfinished.

“Like in NAIA Terminal 2, we have completed waterproofing works in the domestic portion. We have now moved to the international wing,” he said.

The MIAA said the rehabilitation and completion works in the other terminals were proceeding as planned.

Source: Jerome Aning, PDI

Opinion: NAIA 1 Mess Is Anti-Filipino


NAIA 1

The gross mismanagement of NAIA is anti-Filipino, unpatriotic. No Filipino who loves his country will inflict such suffering on fellow Filipinos. Anyone who subjects the country and our people to international ridicule for having the worst or near worst airport worldwide has to be anti-Filipino.

I caught the replay of Karen Davila’s interview of DOTC Sec. Jun Abaya last week where he blamed the non-functioning air conditioners to government procurement policies. It takes nine months to get anything, he pointed out, compared to private companies where things can be purchased right away.

I was about to totally lose my respect for SecJun but he quickly caught himself and added that a government manager who is aware of the procurement lag time should plan ahead and request for things way in advance. He stopped short of blaming the NAIA GM for failing to do that, the reason why NAIA is now a hell hole.

Sayang. If only Karen was better informed, she could have pointed out that the air conditioning problem was not new. It existed even before the Aquino administration took office. GM Bodet Honrado knew the problem on Day One but did nothing.

In fact, all three NAIA terminals have been having that problem on and off. SecJun must remember I once texted him to tell him Terminal 3 was hot as an oven and that was exactly a year ago. Terminal 2 had similar problems but Ramon Ang made a quick decision to just let Philippine Airlines quickly repair and replace problem air conditioners (and back up power system too) even if there is no assurance the airline would be reimbursed by the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA). It didn’t take nine months.

GM Honrado had been managing or rather, he had been mismanaging NAIA for almost four years now. Any boss who still accepts his excuses for failure must by now take full responsibility for the underling’s mess.

I found it amusing that SecJun told Karen he has ordered NAIA management to do stop gap measures like buying whatever air conditioning packages they can get their hands on and do it quickly. Emergency purchases, in other words. Nothing warms the cockles of the corrupt bureaucrat’s heart than thoughts of overpriced goods justified by emergency needs.

I have been told that inducing an emergency situation had been a usual practice of many bureaucrats including or probably, specially those at NAIA. There were even suggestions that they may have deliberately caused facilities like air conditioners to malfunction so emergency purchases can be made.

If GM Honrado cannot manage NAIA, why does he insist on being there? I say it is unpatriotic to be inept in a way that compromises the quality of service delivery to the public. And it is unpatriotic of P-Noy to knowingly keep a friend who lacks the competence to hold public office.

I am embarrassed and angered by NAIA. I don’t know of any Filipino, perhaps even Honrado himself, who is not embarrassed by the state of affairs at NAIA.

I caught an interview of Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima on TV Patrol and when he was asked about what delegates to the World Economic Forum would think about the Philippines after seeing and experiencing NAIA, I sensed Purisima was embarrassed too.

But since he is a cabinet member, Purisima tried to respond the best way he can. He quipped that in other countries they get excited with heat. I guess he was trying to be funny in a sarcastic kind of way. He should have said that Tourism Secretary Mon Jimenez asked Honrado to give the delegates a warm welcome and Honrado is just being efficiently compliant.

Sec. Purisima cannot in all seriousness believe what he said that the WEF delegates will take the NAIA mess as an indication that things are moving on and progress is being made. As I said, it has been almost four years… if it is only now that such slow movement is happening, something is terribly wrong.

I doubt WEF delegates will look kindly at the NAIA mess. Adequate infrastructure is one of WEF’s indicators for competitiveness. The last time they measured 148 countries, we were 84th on transport infrastructure in general, 113th in airports and 116th in seaports. Totally pathetic!

Last year’s WEF conference in Asia was held in Myanmar. Phons Ang, one of my FB friends, just posted some pictures of the airport and it looked nothing like NAIA and best of all, it had air conditioning. Myanmar could have had the excuse that they are just starting to get things done now. Our infrastructure, on the other hand, have deteriorated over the last 30 years.

No wonder, when I posted pictures from a brochure of San Miguel Corporation on their proposed new airport for Metro Manila, the response was almost totally positive. But they want to know how long it will take for this dream to happen.

I share their excitement and expectation but I am afraid I am not that hopeful. I am sure it won’t happen if DOTC SecJun Abaya and his bureaucratic crew have anything to say about it. Sec Jun already said that they don’t favor this kind of initiative from the private sector.

But really, it makes no sense for government to block such an initiative because 1) we need such an airport, like yesterday; 2) DOTC cannot build anything like it in a dozen years and 3) government cannot manage any such facility if present experience in NAIA is any indication.

Besides, what is there to lose? San Miguel will risk its own capital and money borrowed from willing lenders here and abroad. The land that will be used is privately owned. All that the government must concern itself with is compliance with international aviation rules (CAAP), environmental impact and over all safety considerations for the building and the reclaimed land.

Ramon Ang told me that he had presented his plan to P-Noy and he is hopeful. But RSA is always hopeful. Unless P-Noy makes it clear he wants it done, I am sure the DOTC mafia will shoot it down.

But it is good news P-Noy liked RSA’s proposal to add another runway at NAIA that is doable within a year or so depending on how fast government acts. As I reported in this column some weeks ago, RSA showed me a drawing based on Google Map and pointed out where a second runway can be constructed within ICAO specifications.

The second runway will drastically reduce congestion and extend the useful life of NAIA by ten years or so. Most of the land already belongs to government. There is a smaller patch of land that may have to be expropriated or taken back from informal settlers. I see the squatter problem here as less of a real problem if P-Noy is determined to do something big before he leaves office.

But if P-Noy wants to really leave a legacy with impact beyond his term, he has to go with RSA’s new international airport. It will not be finished before 2016 but if they move fast enough, people can already see it taking shape.

For the World Economic Forum happening here this week, it is best to keep expectations low.  Public Works Sec Babes Singson talked of showcasing our infrastructure projects, as if!

Singson got carried away: “We want to show that infrastructure projects really make a difference in economic development like in Singapore and Malaysia. They can see how much they can invest in infrastructure and they can really be assured that the Philippines has an understanding of what they are investing in.”

Sorry to burst your bubble, Sec Singson but the first thing they will see is NAIA 1. The credibility of whatever else you tell them afterwards will be measured against their actual warm experience at NAIA 1 and conclude this government’s infra talk is just a lot of hot air.

Lucky for us, San Miguel came out with their airport plans. I suggest that the colorful airport brochure be given to every delegate. That should help mitigate the horror of the NAIA 1 they personally experienced with the promise of a new modern airport proposed by and to be managed by the private sector.

The San Miguel airport is a big audacious project for us. And we need one such big audacious project to cheer us up and convince us all is not lost and we Pinoys have what it takes to do grand infrastructure like this.

I share the view of Roy Golez who quickly posted his full support for RSA’s proposal on Facebook. “While the economy is moving, it’s not dramatic enough. What we need is a BIG DREAM, a BIG, WORLD CLASS DREAM. We need to DREAM BIG again and this is a doable BIG DREAM. What are we waiting for?????”

Source: Boo Chanco, philstar.com

How DOTC Is Fixing Philippines’ Airport Woes


ImageMANILA, Philippines – Several changes aimed at improving the country’s airport system will be implemented in the coming months, Transportation Secretary Jun Abaya said.

The Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 (NAIA-1) is currently being rehabilitated, but the ongoing construction has triggered another problem: poor air conditioning.

NAIA-1 has five chillers, but only three are currently operational.

According to Abaya, four new chillers are scheduled to be installed by September, noting that the agency cannot immediately purchase new units because of procurement laws.

“We have to comply with procurement law. It’s not an excuse. We know the benefits of a good procurement law, but it just requires forward planning. If you know it takes you 8 months to procure, then you procure 10 months prior,” he told ANC’s “Headstart” on Tuesday.

Abaya added that the agency is also considering renting out chillers to address the problem.

There will also be changes in the immigration process to prevent long queues at the airport.

NAIA-1, which has been tagged “world’s worst airport” by a travel website, is operating beyond its capacity of 4.5 million passengers.

Image

Currently, the terminal is servicing 8 million passengers, Abaya said, noting that the overcapacity is also adding to the poor air circulation.

To decongest NAIA-1, government is planning to construct another terminal, Terminal 5, beside NAIA Terminal 3 to exclusively cater to low-cost airlines.

Five international airlines will also move to NAIA-3 by August in efforts to decongest NAIA-1.

These airlines are Delta Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Etihad Airways, KLM, and Singapore Airlines.

“We are currently designing Terminal 5, which will be located next to Terminal 3 because we will be better off as a country if we move the domestic airlines to low-cost carrier terminals designed for their operations and allow operations so that Terminal 3 becomes fully international,” said Abaya.

The target of completion of NAIA-3 is in July.

The structural rehabilitation of NAIA-1, on the other hand, is scheduled to be completed by January 2015.

Source: Jon Carlos Rodriguez, ABS-CBNnews.com

OPINION: Drop Terminal Fees Until NAIA Is Fixed


ninoy-aquino-international-airport-terminal-1-epa-20131017

The airlines operating out of NAIA 1 want the terminal fees rolled back until air conditioning and other amenities are fixed. Makes sense but the proposal should go further: stop collecting the terminal fees until things are fixed and civilization restored in that terminal.

This suggestion to drop the fees in the meantime is not as outrageous as some bureaucrats may think. In fact, it is the only fair thing to do given decades of fee collection that didn’t all go into giving airlines and passengers value for money.

I don’t have the latest numbers but I recall that three years ago, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) had been collecting over P8 billion in terminal fees a year. Less than half of that had been used for the maintenance and upgrading of the terminals with the rest going into the general fund.

In other words, the terminal fee has become some kind of a tax rather than a fee for use of a facility. Early this year, Sen. Ralph Recto estimates a total annual collection of over P16.5 billion by three government agencies operating at the airport: Tieza (travel tax), CAAP and MIAA.

Other than the travel tax, the fees are supposed to be for services given to and facilities used by airlines and travelers. But most of the money end up in the general fund. This surreptitious taxation is immoral, at the very least.

But that is not happening at the airports alone. As I reported last week, the National Telecommunications Commission is also collecting about P5 billion in supervision fees that all go into the General Fund. They have a budget that covers employee costs and not much else. They even have to borrow test equipment from the telco companies they supervise.

I realize this kind of practice had been going on for years. The guys in DOF will justify it on the grounds that people don’t pay enough taxes to cover the costs of running government. I don’t think the justification is acceptable.

Strictly speaking, this practice may even be illegal in the sense that it is a misappropriation of funds. When terminal fees are collected from each passenger, it is on the pretext of providing adequate airport services. When the money is turned over to the general fund, the real purpose for the collection is lost.

There is no reason for NAIA to be this badly managed. Major airports all over the world make money. Turn over the management of the terminals to the private sector, preferably to the companies that effectively run malls. That’s the only way we can redeem the national honor we lose every day in that poor excuse of an international airport.

Yogi Dominguez Zaragoza, a former Bb. Pilipinas, came back as a balikbayan last month. Her experience at NAIA when she went back home to Los Angeles last week was well described by my fellow columnist Babe Romualdez. Yogi was a contemporary of mine at UP Diliman in the late 60s and my current Facebook friend. Here is what she posted on my timeline reacting to her experience:

I think that the airport tax should be cancelled, all together. Passengers go through a disservice, when exiting the country.

The airline and airport staff was very nice, in spite of their working conditions day in and day out. What an inhuman imposition on these people who need their jobs to support their families, while the people in command seem so unconcerned and smug in their positions because of their affiliations to the top brasses.

When can we ever be proud, again, to say that we come from a respectable country? I remember the 50s and the 60s when the peso had a high exchange rate; when we had a good reputation in the world during the presidential reigns of Ramon Magsaysay, Carlos P. Garcia, and Diosdado Macapagal. Our country has retrogressed so far that it is among the top in various embarrassing global rankings. What can we do to take back the power from corrupt officials?

In any other country, the officials who miserably failed to do their jobs would have resigned in shame, but not here. Why? Here is an explanation PhilStar editor-in-chief Amy Pamintuan wrote in her column last Friday:

Those long lines of passengers fanning themselves as they swelter in the heat are proof that the MIAA failed to anticipate the enormous inconvenience to travelers using the nation’s principal gateway.

Bodet Honrado and his boss Transport Secretary Joseph Abaya have been under fire for the NAIA mess, but the betting is they are secure in their posts. Bodet is a member of the original Yellow Army of the Aquino clan while Abaya is a former military aide of Cory Aquino. And Abaya’s patron, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, can do no wrong in the eyes of his BFF, President Aquino.

That answers the question of many why P-Noy isn’t doing anything about NAIA despite the obvious mismanagement. If we also get power blackouts in Luzon and Visayas in addition to the one prevailing in Mindanao, P-Noy’s watch will be seen as a failure, the international credit upgrades notwithstanding.

P-Noy is sacrificing the Filipino people to keep his incompetent friends happy. Next time we amend our Constitution, we should make that a ground for impeachment.

Author: Boo Chanco, The Philippine Star