By Vince Alvic Alexis F. Nonato

Gov’t eyeing another NAIA terminal

Posted on December 17, 2014

THE DEPARTMENT of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) is thinking about establishing a new terminal at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to go with a new runway designed to accommodate more flights, Secretary Joseph Emilio “Jun” A. Abaya told reporters on Tuesday.

OFWs and travelers from other countries are starting to arrive in NAIA Terminal 1 on Dec. 16, nine days before Christmas. -- Aileen Camille B. Dimatatac
However, building a new runway may affect the operations of existing ones if it used current terminals in place, Mr. Abaya said on the sidelines of an inspection he undertook at the NAIA, dubbed the “World’s Worst Airport” thrice in a row by the Web site Sleeping in Airports until it slipped to fourth place this year.

As a result, the DoTC had the proposed option checked by Ruud Ummels, a Dutch consultant hired by the agency for the parallel runway proposal and the ongoing runway optimization project, Mr. Abaya said.

“What he’s saying, given the design... the challenge there is you’d have to cross the main runway. What the consultant is saying, you protect the main runway, you minimize the disturbance, maximize the operations. So definitely, putting the runway that crosses over will affect the main runway,” Mr. Abaya explained. “We’re getting the final numbers but it seems like the additional terminal in the same area would be less disruptive to be a better solution.”

If ever the proposal for a new terminal takes off, it would likely be connected through access roads to the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) or the Circumferential Road 5 (C-5), said Mr. Abaya.

The terminal would also be constructed on NAIA-owned land, although informal settlers would need to be relocated elsewhere, he added.

Mr. Abaya said the numbers for the proposal would still need to be checked before it could be presented before President Benigno S. C. Aquino III and a timetable could be set.

Although there was no costing done, he estimated the terminal to cost “probably more than a billion pesos.”

“It will increase the number of movements on the runway. It also addresses additional parking space; it’s a challenge right now,” said Mr. Abaya.

Mr. Abaya said he was satisfied with “significant” improvements to the airport’s facilities.

He added that 40% of the rehabilitation work had been completed as of December, but pushed the target completion date to mid-May.

“The original deadline given to me for passenger areas was either [February or March]. We’re now looking at mid-May,” said Mr. Abaya. “We can never pin down the final date of completion when we’re rehabilitating. Being off by 45 days isn’t bad.”