By Macon Araneta | FilAm Star Correspondent
Once the government fully implements its rationalization plan for airport services on August 31, only five out of more than 20 airlines will be left serving Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1, said Jess Martinez, media affairs division chief.
Martinez said the move intends to decongest terminals and improve the convenience of passengers.
He named the five airlines that will be left at NAIA terminal: Thai Airways, Saudia Airlines, Japan Airlines, Etihad Airlines and Philippine Airlines,
“The deadline will be on August 31 but some airlines are asking for an extension,” Martinez said.
The airlines that will be transferred to NAIA terminal 3 are China Southern, China Airlines, China Eastern, Xiamen Air, Oman Air, Eva Air, Kuwait Air, Jetstar, Gulf Air, Korean Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Qantas Air, Malaysian Airlines, Qatar Air, Royal Brunei, Tiger Air, Jeju Air, Air Nugini and Air China.
Terminal 2 will be used only for PAL and Cebu Pacific Air domestic flights operations while terminal 4 will handle other domestic flights service.
Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Eddie Monreal denied reports that some airlines will transfer their operations to Clark International Airport in Pampanga but said the rationalization is ongoing.
Under the present set-up, NAIA terminal 2, which is currently being used by PAL, operates for both domestic and international flight services. But according to Monreal, the terminal was originally designed as a domestic terminal.
NAIA terminal 3, on the other hand, was designed for international flights but it is also being operated for both domestic and international flight services by several airlines.
Using these terminals for both domestic and international flights cause air traffic congestion and inconvenienced travelers, said Monreal.
Terminal 1 was completed in 1981 to accommodate the country’s growing international passenger traffic levels during the 1970s. The 16-gate facility with 78 check-in counters and 24 immigration stations was designed by Leandro Locsin, a National Artist of the Philippines for Architecture.
To address the continuing increase in the number of air passengers, MIAA built NAIA terminal 2, also known as Centennial Terminal.
Terminal 2 began operations in 1999. Originally envisioned as a domestic hub, the facility now houses both the international and domestic operations of the country’s flag carrier, Philippine Airlines.
Designed by Aeroports de Paris to handle 9 million passengers annually, terminal 2 features an arrowhead design focused on a six-storey central building called the Rotunda.
The arrow wings of the facility are designated North and South. The North wing is used for PAL’s international flights while the South wing services its domestic flights.
While improvements raised terminal 1’s capacity to six million, a peak level of 7.7 million passengers was reached in 1997, causing overflow of passengers that year. Terminal 3 was the answer to this growing traffic.
Currently the largest airport in Manila, NAIA 3 stands on a 65-hectare property adjacent to the NAIA runway facilities. It is a two-tiered design with its ground floor handling arrivals and the third level, facilitating departures.
NAIA 3 can handle 13-million international passengers annually. The center of the building contains the head house where passenger processing is centralized. A total of 20 boarding gates and 140 check-in-counters can accommodate 4,000 peak hour one-way passengers.
Terminal 3 officially opened to selected domestic flights from July 2008 (initially Cebu Pacific only, then PAL’s subsidiaries Air Philippines and PAL Express), with Cebu Pacific international flights using it from August 2008.
Terminal 4, still known as the Old Domestic Terminal, is the oldest of the four existing terminals. The facility hosts the operations of local carriers such as Air SWIFT, Cebgo, Philippine Air Asia and Skyjet.