The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 3 is set to be fully operational by the end of the month, as the Japanese contractor tasked with the completion of the system works of the air hub is nearly done with the repairs.
It took four administrations in 17 years to fully complete the passenger terminal building owing to legal and financial problems.
“We are extremely pleased to confirm that full airline operations will begin at the Naia Terminal 3 next week. Our gateway airport will now be able to welcome 3.5 million more passengers with modern facilities every year,” Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio A. Abaya said.
Takenaka Corp. and the Department of Transportation and Communications signed in August 2013 a $40-million construction work agreement for the former to complete and integrate the system works of the Naia Terminal 3.
Under the terms of the agreement, Takenaka will complete the works within 12 months, allowing Terminal 3 to be fully operational by the third quarter of 2014.
These works include baggage handling, flight-information displays, computer terminals, gate coordination and fire-protection systems, among others.
Takenaka was the original contractor commissioned by Philippine International Air Terminals Co. (Piatco) to build the Naia 3 in 1998. However, construction at the new terminal was halted in 2002 after allegations of anomalies cropped up.
Further delays were caused by litigation between the Philippine government and Piatco and the latter’s German shareholder, Fraport AG.
Fraport still has a pending arbitration case against the government before the World Bank International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes in Washington, D.C.
The full operation of Terminal 3 will allow a faster and more pleasant experience for passengers flying in and out of Manila. Once completed, the 182,500-square-meter terminal would have the capacity to service up to 33,000 passengers daily at peak, or 6,000 passengers per hour. It also has 34 air bridges and 20 contact gates, allowing it to service 28 planes simultaneously. The completion of the system works at the Naia 3 will also pave way for the decongestion of the first terminal, Abaya noted.
“The Manila International Airport Authority has informed us that Delta Airlines will have its first flight out of Terminal 3 on August 1st, while KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will move within the first week of August. Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Cathay Pacific will follow suit by the end of next month. These five carriers have the highest volume of international flights coming in and out of the Naia, so we look forward to giving them a new home,” he explained.
The transfer of the five airlines will reduce Terminal 1’s annual passenger throughput from the current 8 million down to its design capacity of 4.5 million. This will free up more space at Terminal 1 and reduce the number of travelers affected by the ongoing rehabilitation works.
Written by: Lorenz S. Marasigan