Malacanang confirms work on NAIA upgrade has started

November 10, 2011 10:48 pm 

MANILA, Nov. 10 — In response to the directive of President Benigno S. Aquino III to improve the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to support the country's tourism industry in the short term, Malacanang announced on Thursday that the refurbishment and upgrading works for the airports are now underway.

Concerned government agencies are now fast-tracking the improvement of the country's airport terminals amid the negative observations made by the international community on the inferior condition of the 30-year old NAIA, according to Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda in a regular news briefing in Malacanang on Thursday.

Latest reports showed CNN's travel site, CNNGO.com, puts the Ninoy Aquino International Airport No. 5 on its list of "World's Most Hated Airports".

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.

"There are structural renovations being done. Apart from that, we also have the interior renovations being done as well. For instance, lighting, landscaping…," Lacierda said, adding that Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas II had already briefed the President about the on-going refurbishment and upgrading works.

Interviewed over Youtube’s World View Interview Series on Friday, President Aquino acknowledged the need to improve the NAIA saying the 30-year-old structure has already reached its saturation point.

“There is a plan for it, for improving the NAIA, structurally and aesthetically…..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,” the President said over Youtube’s World View interview series.

It was reported earlier that the Aquino administration plans to relocate NAIA from Pasay City to Clark, Pampanga. The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is considering phasing out and selling the NAIA in Pasay-Paranaque in order to pay for the cost of the proposed Clark International Airport that will meet the long-term airport needs of the country, and boost the country’s tourism industry.

However, Sec. Roxas 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. (PNA)

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