MANILA, Philippines -- As the mercury rises day by day, airport authorities have started sectional shutdowns of the air-conditioning system at the country's busiest airport to pave the way for urgent repairs.
Only one of two vents is cooling the arrival lobby of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 (NAIA-1) as the other was shut down this week for the replacement of its aged coil, which directs cool air to the area's west side.
At least 14 more of the 39 air-handling units (AHUs) feeding off the terminal's centralized air-conditioning system are up for repairs throughout the month, with shutoffs scheduled at six days per section, said Manila International Airport Authority operations chief Octavio Lina.
?There are 15 coils that we have to replace because we've been having problems with those parts. Once we're done, the distribution of cool air will be better. The 15 AHUs we'll repair are those supplying air to critical passenger movement areas,? Lina said Thursday.
Late January, an AHU supplying air to the NAIA-1 arrival Immigration area emitted smoke after an insulating panel fell on the fan belt, creating a minor spark. Airport officials found that ordinary wear and tear was to blame. The damaged unit has since been fixed.
Asked why repairs started at summertime, Lina said: ?We were set to start this before... but you know how long the procurement process is; we had some delays. But we will see if we can finish this before the end of the month.?
The arrival lobby, a less-crowded area where passengers await hotel transfer, change money, or simply pass through en route to their ride at the arrival greeters' area or the parking lot, has been warmer than other parts of the terminal since vent shutdown on Monday.
But passengers did not appear to be bothered on Thursday as the remaining AHUs could still supply cool air to the entire lobby.
MIAA?s operations division is set to alternate shutdowns at the arrival and departure areas throughout the coming days. Among the next AHUs to be shut off are the ones serving the east side of the departure lobby, and then the east side of the arrival lobby, the west side of the departure lobby, and the one for the arrival immigration area. .
Temperature inside the terminal has been monitored at a bearable 24 degrees Celsius, though it could get higher at peak arrival or departure hours. Several industrial fans have been placed around the terminal to help deflect the heat.