Steel braces to make Naia quake-resistant
MANILA, Philippines–Structural steel braces that will let the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 1 withstand a strong quake are now being installed under phase two of the ongoing renovation program.
Naia Terminal 1 manager Dante Basanta said on Tuesday that 138 buckling restrained braces (BRBs) recently arrived in the Philippines from the United States with more expected to be delivered. Of the total, 76 have already been installed.
The installation of the BRBs to improve the airport’s structural integrity is part of the P1.3-billion rehabilitation program expected to be completed by March next year, a few months ahead of the country’s hosting of the 2015 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit.
The Philippines last hosted the Apec summit in 1996 during the time of then President Fidel V. Ramos.
The renovation which began in December will be done in six phases as part of the efforts of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) to improve services at the international gateway.
According to Basanta, some of the braces were installed in the customs section at the arrival area, the West Satellite and the departure transit area.
The retrofitting has resulted in the transfer of some banks at the departure area. Also affected by the renovation are the east side of the customs arrival area and eastern portion of the immigration section in the departure area.
Basanta said the Duty Free Philippines store operated by the Department of Tourism at the Naia 1 predeparture area would not be affected by the rehabilitation.
He added that some coffee shops would soon start operations in the departure transit lounge.
Basanta expressed optimism that the renovation and improvement of facilities would remove Naia’s tag as “one of the world’s worst airports.”
According to MIAA officials, work has also started on the overhaul of the terminal’s air-conditioning system, starting with the replacement of 36 old units.
In addition, the rehabilitation of 121 toilets at the airport’s three terminals is underway under the P32.6-million “Kayo ang boss Ko” toilet-improvement project.
The toilet project which covers Naia Terminals 2, 3, 4 includes the installation of major fixtures such as water closets, sensor-type urinals, lavatories, tiles, ceilings and waterproofing.
Basanta had said in a previous interview that with the completion of the P1.3-billion airport renovation program, he expected the travel experience to improve by next year.
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