New system allows domestic passengers to skip one line before boarding plane

May 17, 2012 10:27 pm 

MANILA, May 17 -– Domestic airline passengers lining up to pay terminal fee at the country’s airports will soon be a thing of the past as the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) formalized the agreement with major airline companies to integrate the fees into the total cost of airline tickets.

A memorandum of agreement (MOA) was signed by DOTC/MIAA with major carriers in a signing ceremony Thursday at NAIA Terminal 3 attended by Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas and top officials of airline companies.

The government was represented by Jose Angel Honrado, general manager of MIAA while the airline companies were led by their top executives. They include Iñigo Zobel, president and CEO of Air Philippines; Lance Gokongwei, president and CEO of Cebu Air, Inc; Ramon Ang, president and COO of PAL; Avelino Zapanta, president and CEO of Seair Inc.; Ramon Guico III, president and CEO Sky Pasada; and Alfredo M. Yao, president and CEO of Zest Air.

The new system for domestic flights takes effect August 1, 2012.

“We appreciate the airline companies’ full cooperation ‘who worked assiduously’ in instituting the new system to provide a better and efficient airport service to air travelers,” Roxas said.

The integration of terminal fee into the airline tickets had been previously rejected by carriers due to the perceived complexity of sorting out the amount due to the number of exemptions granted by the government to different passenger groups.

This is expected to save time and add convenience to 70 percent domestic passengers who are not entitled to any exemptions.

Only exempted passengers such as athletes, overseas workers, senior citizens and babies under two years old, will line up at designated claim booths for refund.

Currently, passengers had to complete four procedures -– the initial screening upon entering the terminal, check-in counter to get their boarding pass, payment of terminal fee, and the final security screening — before boarding their flights.

The new system enables all departing domestic passengers to skip one line before they board the plane. They no longer need to queue and pay terminal fees in all domestic airports in the country, allowing passengers to do other things before boarding the plane.

“This is just one part of the whole program we are implementing to smooth and speed up the ground operations of our airports, and ensure the convenience of air passengers,” Roxas said.

The transition time to fully implement the new system is expected to last until middle of next year as there will still be a terminal fee collection booth for those who have already bought their tickets without terminal fee.

Before the end of the year, terminal fees for international flights will also be incorporated in the plane ticket.

Meanwhile, the DOTC recently unveiled several short- and long-term measures to solve the problem of runway congestion at NAIA.

To address the issue and to support local airline companies’ expansion program, Roxas said the government will continue to enhance the infrastructure of the country’s major airports. From just an airline fleet population of 62 five years ago, the airline industry’s total fleet number has almost doubled to 119 today.

Part of this effort, the government has allocated P800 million to night-rate 14 additional airports in Tagbilaran, Legazpi, Dumaguete, Butuan, Ozamis, Cotabato, Naga, Dipolog, Roxas, Pagadian, Tuguegarao, Busuanga, Surigao and San Jose, Mindoro.

The rehabilitation of NAIA Terminal 1 is also in progress.

“The structural work, together with the mechanical-electrical-plumbing and fire-protection (MEPF) work at NAIA T-1 will be completed next year,” said Roxas.

NAIA Terminal 3 will be in full operation early next year once the 23 airport systems, including baggage handling system and closed-circuit televisions that will cover all areas of the terminal, are delivered by Takenaka Corp. (PNA) DCT/lgi/PR/JS/utb


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