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Naia terminal dislodged as world’s worst airport

/ 07:04 AM October 17, 2014
Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia). INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia). INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–After topping the list of the world’s worst airports for three consecutive years, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) has the dubious achievement of landing only fourth this year.

“The Guide to Sleeping in Airports,” the interactive travel site which has been sticking Manila’s international airport with the world’s worst airport tag since 2011, this year praised the Naia, particularly its Terminal 3, for the improvements that have apparently changed passengers’ experience of the airport.

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According to the travel site’s 2014 survey results posted on www.sleepinginairports.net on Wednesday, Naia was “overtaken” in the worst airport stakes by Islamabad Benazir Bhutto International Airport (ISB) of Pakistan, Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport of Saudi Arabia and Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport of Nepal.

Pakistan’s ISB, which topped the list this year, was likened to a “central prison,” with pervasive corruption and aggressive yet inconsistent security checks.

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The website ranks airports based on the votes cast by travelers who rate the facilities according to “comfort, amenities and overall experience.”

Most of the travelers that use the website’s services are those looking to cut costs by sleeping at the airports instead of booking hotel rooms.

“After 3 years at the top of our worst airports lists, Manila Naia saw a slight ‘improvement’ in its ranking as a result of increased positive votes for its Terminal 3,” the blog said.

Last August, Naia 3 started full airline operations with the completion of rehabilitation work that was 17 years in the making.

Five international airlines—Delta Airlines, KLM, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Emirates—have now moved to Naia 3 from the congested Naia 1 which has long been the object of ridicule in international travel sites.

“This year, in an effort to lose its title of being the ‘laggard of Asia’ (as one survey respondent put it), the long-awaited rehabilitation of Naia Terminal 1 [has] finally commenced,” the website noted.

The P1.3 billion renovation of the Naia 1, which began last January, would be finished next March, airport officials have promised.

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But Naia was still not spared from negative remarks from travelers in the 2014 survey results. The website said overcrowding, lengthy queues, limited seating, unfriendly immigration and customs officers and smelly toilets still count among the travelers’ grievances.

The website also brought up the unbearable heat at the Naia when the air-conditioning system broke down last summer, and called the airport “Asia’s largest public sauna.”

“You may now be asking yourself ‘how is this an improvement?’ Well, all news was not grim at Naia 1 this year,” it said.

It said that after last year’s survey results, the newly refurbished day rooms have reopened.

The website also cited the plan of the Manila International Airport Authority, which runs all four terminals of the Naia to include the terminal fees in the cost of the international tickets to decongest the terminals by eliminating the long queues.

“Consider this a firm recommendation to do all that you can to fly on airlines th at use Terminal 3 rather than Terminal 1—particularly if your time at Manila’s Naia is looking long!” the website said.

Other airport terminals that made it to the world’s worst list were Bergamo Orio al Serio International Airport,Italy; Berlin Tegel International Airport and Frankfurt Hahn International Airport, Germany; New York City La Guardia International Airport, United States; Paris Beauvais International Airport, France; and Tashkent International Airport, Uzbekistan.

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TAGS: airports, NAIA Terminal 1, Naia Terminal 3, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), worst airports
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