Naia 1 is rated ‘world’s worst airport’

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03:00 AM October 19th, 2011

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By: Tina G. Santos, October 19th, 2011 03:00 AM

Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 in Pasay City. RODEL ROTONI/INQUIRER

It just gets worse and worse.

Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), particularly Terminal 1, now ranks No. 1 among the “Worst Airports in the World,” said “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports,” an interactive website that gathers reports from various reviewers.

Naia 1’s ratings worsened from the website’s 2010 assessment that it was the world’s fifth-worst airport and the worst in Asia.

The ranking of Manila’s international airport was based on reviews of travelers who complained, among other things, 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.”

Sought for comment, Dante Basanta, Naia Terminal 1 manager, said the issues raised on the website were old and rehashed.

“It’s unfair for them to say that we have the world’s worst airport because we’ve already implemented several improvements at the terminal for the past several months,” Basanta told the Inquirer.

He said the photos shown on the website were old ones.

Basanta said that to date, a total of 16 rest rooms had been renovated and that the ceilings at the boarding gates and waiting lounges improved.

“We’re also improving water services; the replacement of old pipes is ongoing,” he added.

Worst 10

Besides Naia 1, the following made it to the 10 worst airports in the world: Paris Beauvais in France, Keflavik International Airport in Iceland, Bergamo-Orio al Serio Airport in Italy, Kiev International Airport in Ukraine, Frankfurt-Hahn Airport in Germany, London Luton Airport in the United Kingdom, Pisa Airport in Italy, Paris CDG Airport in France and Los Angeles International Airport in the United States.

“The list this year is very heavily European, simply because that’s where the most airport-sleeping adventures are to be had. We base our list on user reviews and poll votes and we just happen to receive more reviews for overnight sleep overs for European airports,” the website said regarding the quality and facilities of the world’s airports.

Best three

The website also named the world’s three best airports in 2011—Singapore Changi, Hong Kong, and Seoul Incheon. The facilities—all in Asia—were named the best airports the previous year.

Most complaints of reviewers about Naia concerned the old Terminal 1, which hosts all international flights except those of Philippine Airlines, which uses Terminal 2 and Cebu Pacific, Air Philippines and All Nippon Airways, which use Terminal 3.

“The current administration should hire a bulldozer and a ramming team and start tearing it apart,” said ajloren123, a reviewer.

Promise

Among the problems cited by the reviewers who managed to survive the airport were theft, bribery and the absence of toilet seats and running water in the bathrooms.

“Earlier this year, some bad press regarding the state of the airport made airport officials promise to clean its Terminal 1 toilets and provide running water and soap. Imagine…. they actually had to “promise” to offer this!” the website said.

It also pointed out physical hazards that recently plagued Naia 1, including the collapse of a portion of a ceiling plaster in May, which prompted an inspection by government officials led by President Aquino.

“Their arrival ramp is not user-friendly because it slopes downward!! If you happen to be pushing your loads of baggage through this ramp, watch out or your baggage might get to the bottom of the ramp before you,” said Tiffycality, another reviewer.

The Guide to Sleeping in Airports acknowledged that there was hope at Naia if one went to Terminal 3, which it said was clean, spacious and had Internet connection.

But the website, citing a report that reportedly came out earlier this month, also reminded travelers that the 9-year-old terminal had been deemed “structurally flawed.”

The woes that confront travelers at Naia 1 went beyond poor facilities, the site said. It warned passengers about sleeping in the terminal because of bribery and theft.

“Forget about sleeping in this airport! You will not want to even close your eyes here! Bribery and theft exist. Airport taxes are collected, but the money does not seem to go toward the betterment of the airport. Document holders have been told their papers are not correct, but a fee of x amount should clear up the matter,” the site said.

Big bucket

One reviewer said a big bucket with a dipper was by the front door and about four attendants demanded a tip.

“When I asked a security guard where the smoking area was he told me to follow him … and took me out on to the tarmac where he then insisted on a bribe before he let me back into the terminal. How does one say “no” to a security guard with a gun?” the reviewer said.

Another reviewer said nothing compared with his experience at Naia.

Mind-blowing

“It’s a horrible waste of time and you should all hold onto your wallets as tightly as possible. I especially advise any foreign travellers to avoid this airport. The amount of corruption and bribery is just mind-blowing,” said Shizumasa, a reviewer.

A reviewer named Monette said she lost her cell phone between the drop-off at the entrance and the security check.

Handbag slashed

“The phone was in my side pocket of my handbag and this side pocket was slashed with a sharp knife! I mentioned it to the (police) officer and he referred me to an airport policeman.

“This guy had the guts to suggest that I go to the lost-and-found office and check if they found it. Long story short, he didn’t even get my name and address to file a report and was just saying: ma’am there are many thieves in this airport. Just look after your belongings!” she said.

The website also noted that terminals were lacking such services as left-luggage and pay-in lounges for transit passengers.

It said free WiFi connection and day rooms at the air side of Naia 1 were among the airport’s redeeming qualities.

Originally posted: 7:51 pm | Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

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