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NAIA 1 rated among world’s 10 worst airports

By DJ Yap
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:50:00 04/13/2011

Filed Under: airport security, Internet, Ratings, Travel & Commuting, Safety of Citizens

MANILA, Philippines?An interactive website has voted the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) one of the world?s 10 worst airports and the worst in Asia in 2010, with travelers describing it as ?a bombed-out ruin? and ?a cattle yard, only worse.?

The website, ?The Guide to Sleeping in Airports,? ranked the Manila airports, particularly NAIA Terminal 1, fifth worst in the world, behind two in France, including Charles De Gaulle in Paris, and the Los Angeles and Moscow airports.

The ranking was based on reviews of air travelers who complained, among other things, of ?safety concerns, lack of comfortable seating, rude staff, hostile security, poor facilities, no (or few) services to pass the time, bribery and general hassles of being in the airport.?

Two lists of the best and the worst airports are updated annually by the website (http://sleepinginair
ports.net), which travel agent Donna McSherry started in 1996.

NAIA actually rose two places in the list. In 2009, it was ranked seventh. Two other Asian airports made it to the worst list in 2010, both from India, in New Delhi and Bombay at sixth and eighth, respectively.

On the other hand, the world?s three best airports in 2010, according to the website, were also in Asia: Singapore Changi, Seoul Incheon and Hong Kong, the same top three the previous year.

?Bombed-out ruin?

Most complaints about NAIA concerned the old Terminal 1, which hosts all international flights except those of Philippine Airlines, which uses Terminal 2, and Cebu Pacific, Air Philippines and All Nippon Airways, which use Terminal 3.

A reviewer named Brenty said of NAIA: ?It has to be experienced to be believed. Think of a bombed-out ruin and you?ll get some idea. It?s like a cattle yard, only worse. Toilets filthy. No seating once you get through customs (maybe 40 seats for a thousand passengers).?

?Bribery and corruption in this airport is rife and the scams start the minute you walk off the plane,? said another critic named Mecanix.

The website, however, acknowledged that ?there is hope at this airport if you go to Terminal 3 where it is clean, spacious and has Internet connection.?

Improvements underway

Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Jose Angel Honrado said he respected the feedback, but added that he hoped the public would see the improvements at NAIA.

?We are aware of the deficiencies. We really appreciate the comments and we?re trying to correct these things. But please understand that this will take time,? he said.

He also encouraged NAIA critics to visit Terminal 1 again and take note of the upgrades. He said they should understand that renovating a 30-year-old terminal is not easy.

Honrado noted efforts to fix toilets at Terminal 1 and plans to put in ?a new carpet.? He also said coordination with immigration and customs offices would hopefully eradicate bribery.

For ?spill-over? flights

In the next few years, he said ?definitely? all international flights would move to Terminal 3 in spite of legal troubles involving compensation disputes with its builder, Philippine International Air Terminals Co.

Honrado said the government clearly has a mandate to operate Terminal 3, and he sees no reason to put off plans to develop it until it becomes fully operational within ?one and a half years.? He, however, added that Terminal 1 would still likely be retained for ?spill-over? flights.

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