MANILA'S Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 will be "fully operational" by July 31, with five international carriers transferring operations to the new facility, said the Philippines Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).
Shifting from the over-congested Terminal 1 are Delta Air Lines on August 1, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines on August 4 and Emirates on August 15. Cathay Pacific Airways and Singapore Airlines are also expected to do so before September.
The move lowers Terminal 1’s current passenger traffic from eight million to its design capacity of 4.5 million.
In a statement released today, DOTC secretary, Joseph Emilio Abaya, said: “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, and Terminal 1 will now be considerably decongested to improve passenger convenience.”
Until now Terminal 3 has been operating at half capacity due to improperly maintained facilities. It was used only by Cebu Pacific Air, All Nippon Airways, Philippine Airlines (PAL) and PAL Express.
Meanwhile Terminal 1’s refurbishment will be completed by 1Q2015, and plans for a fifth terminal catering exclusively to international flights are underway.
However, some lamented that NAIA has other issues it needs to solve.
“Whatever we do with the transfer of these airlines, the airport is not really working in terms of flights arriving on time,” said Dolly Santos, president, Golden Sky Travel & Tours, who cited problems such as the lack of additional runways, inadequate restroom facilities and luggage provisions.
“If we concentrated on one terminal for international, like Clark or Sangley, and one terminal for domestic, it would be much better.”