The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 will finally be fully operational by the end of July, the Transportation department said, noting that it has been 17 years since the contract for the project has been awarded.
Five international carriers will transfer to NAIA-3 from NAIA-1 starting next week. Delta Airlines will fly out of the newest terminal by August 1. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, and Cathay Pacific will soon follow suit.
“We are extremely pleased to confirm that full airline operations will begin at NAIA Terminal 3 next week. Our gateway airport will now be able to welcome 3.5 million more passengers with modern facilities every year, “ Transport chief Emilio Abaya said.
The contract, awarded in 1997, was supposed to have been finished by 2002. Allegations of anomalous transactions with contractor Philippine International Air Terminals Co., Inc., and cases consequently filed, have stalled project completion.
The terminal opened in 2008, but has been operating at half its intended capacity of 13 million passengers. In August 2013, the government struck a deal with the original contractor Takenaka Corp. to complete the project pending resolution of cases.
“[T]he Japanese firm has undertaken completion works for systems such as, flight information displays, computer terminals, gate coordination, landing bridges, and fire protection systems” over the past year, the Transport department said.
Around 85 percent of the works had been completed, it added, noting that other systems “which are non-critical to full airline operations, such as the building maintenance system,” would likely be completed within the year.
The transfer of five airlines to NAIA-3 is expected to reduce NAIA-1’s annual passenger traffic to its design capacity of 4.5 million from its current rate of 8 million. NAIA-1, which has been tagged the worst airport in the world, is also undergoing renovation.
Abaya added that the five carriers transferring to NAIA-3 “have the highest volume of international flights coming in and out of NAIA, so we look forward to giving them a new home.” The move thus cuts he number of travelers affected by NAIA-1 works.
The Cabinet official said NAIA-3’s completion is part of the President Benigno Aquino’s promise of good governance. “We made sure that 17 years and 4 administrations later, the whole Terminal 3 facility may be enjoyed by the public,” Abaya said.