Press Release
March 8, 2018


Relocating flights from one terminal to another will not ease airport congestion and may further exacerbate problems hounding the country's main gateway, Sen. Grace Poe said today.

In her report to Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and members of the Senate panel after she wrapped up hearings on airport concerns, Poe emphasized that congestion will still exist even after the Manila International Airport Authority implements its rationalization plan at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

"With the pending proposals of interested parties to expand NAIA, the MIAA should endeavor to assess these submissions as these offer promising remedies which not only resolve current issues but also provide for the exponential growth of the aviation industry as well as the national economy. As it is, expanding the capacity of the country's main gateway would be the main solution to decongest the NAIA," said Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public services.

Poe acknowledged the existence of bids to improve NAIA's services such as the P350 billion unsolicited proposal of a group consisting of the country's largest conglomerates dubbed as "super consortium" and the $3-billion or P156.2-billion bid of Megawide Construction Corp. and its India-based partner GMR Infrastructure Limited (also the joint venture behind the construction of a new Cebu International Airport terminal) that promise to transform the airport into a world-class regional aviation hub.

"This expansion of NAIA may more likely resolve existing constraints similar to the upgrading of terminals in Cebu. Contrasting these ventures with the intended terminal rationalization reveals that the planned redistribution of domestic and international flights may only be a band-aid solution to the continuing problems in NAIA," the senator added.

Under the rationalization plan, Terminals 1 and 3 will be exclusive for international flights while Terminals 2 and 4 will be for domestic flights. Airlines were told to comply within six months.

Poe, however, stressed that this would not solve terminal congestion as Terminal 2 has a capacity of only 9 million passengers, as against the combined number of domestic passengers of more than 16 million.

Similarly, the six-month deadline for airlines to comply with the airport rationalization plan may be arbitrary and the rationalization plan's implementation done in haste. She urged MIAA to review its rationalization plan "with the view in mind of not prejudicing the interests of Filipino passengers."

"The MIAA has been inclined to execute the proposed terminal rationalization without conducting a detailed study on whether this would be the soundest approach to the current situation in NAIA. Neither has there been a concrete plan formed to ensure the smooth execution of the rationalization," she added.

"The Committee is giving time for the MIAA to consult with various stakeholders in the industry to solve the congestion problem in NAIA and to serve the public with utmost attention. By then, a full committee report will be issued for the purpose," Poe said.

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