Aquino government considers stop-gap measure to improve NAIA

November 4, 2011 10:02 pm 

MANILA, Nov. 4 — The Aquino administration is considering a temporary improvement plan for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to support the country’s tourism industry in the short term.

Interviewed over Youtube’s World View Interview Series on Friday, President Benigno S. Aquino III said he will be seeing a plan to improve NAIA in the next few years to temporarily support the Philippine tourism industry.

“There is a plan for it, for improving the NAIA, structurally and aesthetically, that will be presented to me by Tuesday next week," the President said, adding that "it will be a stop-gap measure for the next four or five years because we are looking at an alternative for that complex given the fact that it will be hard for us to support the 10 million tourist arrivals that we are targeting.”

“Now while we’re focusing on tourism, it’s a low lying concern as far as we are concerned. It brings about one direct job for every tourist arrival, so 10 million new jobs is something that we are striving,” he added.

The President said the airport is heavily saturated, acknowledging the need to improve it or look for possible alternatives to support the country’s growing tourism sector.

NAIA, a 30-year-old structure, has suffered the ravages of time, according to the President. The whole complex is designed for 32 million arrivals, and it’s now approaching 30 million, he said.

NAIA, particularly Terminal 1, now ranks No. 1 among the “Worst Airports in the World,” according to “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports,” an interactive website that gathers reports from various reviewers.

Travelers complained of safety concerns, lack of comfortable seating, rude staff, hostile security, poor facilities, no (or few) services to pass the time, bribery, being kicked out and general hassles of being in the airport.

It was reported earlier that the Aquino administration plans to relocate NAIA from Pasay City to Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga.

However, Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas II said the plan depends on the success of the NorthRail project and the privatization of the existing NAIA property.

At the same time, the government hopes to raise around $ 2.5 billion with the privatization of the 440-hectare NAIA property to fund NAIA’s relocation to Clark.

President Aquino is the first Asian leader to be featured on the series, produced by Youtube’s parent company Google Inc.

It also featured other world leaders such as United States President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameroon and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. (PNA)



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