By Corina Oliquino | FilAm Star Correspondent
MANILA – The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has been voted by air travelers as the 10th most improved airport this year, according to the result of a worldwide survey by UK research firm Skytrax.
“The Award for the World’s Most Improved Airport is based on the relative year-on-year Quality performance by all airports featured in the World Airport Survey and takes into account the change in rating together with performance changes across the different product and service categories in the awards,” Skytrax said.
“The 2018 Awards are based on 13.73 million airport survey questionnaires completed by over 100 different nationalities of airline customers during the survey period. The survey operated from August 2017 to February 2018, covering 550 airports worldwide and evaluating traveler experiences across different airport service and product key performance indicators — from check-in, arrivals, transfers, shopping, security and immigration through to departure at the gate,” Skytrax added.
For 2018, Rome’s Fiumicino Airport is named the World’s Most Improved Airport in 2018, with Perth Airport 2nd place, and Calgary International Airport taking 3rd place.
In a report by Rappler, last March 22, the Department of Transportation (DoT) welcomed the news, noting that NAIA was once considered as ‘the world’s worst airport.’
Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal has attributed the improved ranking to cooperation among stakeholders.
“I think it’s basically the little things we have done, the little efforts that the team has implemented – good cooperation with all the stakeholders…. improvement of the facilities that has been implemented so far,” Monreal told Rappler.
Monreal also acknowledged that there are “still a lot of things to do.”
“Nando’n tayo sa pang-sampu pero ang importante ano’ng gagawin natin moving forward. That’s even a bigger task for us na itinaas natin ‘yung bar, paangat ng paangat, mas mahirap ho ang challenge,” Monreal said.
In the same news briefing, Monreal said they have yet to resolve the issue of taxi drivers overcharging and taking advantage of NAIA passengers.
According to Rappler, there are unsolicited proposals from various companies and groups to upgrade and expand NAIA, which include a PHP 350-billion proposal from the NAIA Consortium composed of the Philippines’ biggest conglomerates and a PHP 156-billion proposal from Megawide Construction Corporation and its Bangalore-based partner GMR Infrastructure Limited.
The PHP 350-billion proposal from the NAIA Consortium is composed of seven partners including the Aboitiz InfraCapital Incorporated, AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation, Alliance Global Group Incorporated, Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corporation, Filinvest Development Corporation, JG Summit Holdings Incorporated, and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation with a combined capitalization over PHP 2.2 trillion.
“The consortium has also teamed up with Singapore’s Changi Airports International Private Limited, which would provide technical support in the areas of master planning, operations optimization, and commercial development,” according to Rappler.
Meanwhile, the PHP 156-billion proposal from Megawide Construction Corporation and its Bangalore-based partner GMR Infrastructure Limited provides a lower project cost and shorter concession period compared to that of the NAIA Consortium.
“It is our belief that the key to unlocking NAIA’s full potential is to optimize the efficiency of the existing airside infrastructure, which will add up to 50 percent more movements for NAIA,” Andrew Harrison, chief executive advisor of GMR-Megawide, told Rappler.