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Naia 1 rehab on track, says Abaya

/ 06:52 AM December 17, 2014
NAIA 1

FACADE of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–It’s getting there, albeit a little late.

The rehabilitation of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 1 is nearly halfway completed with the passenger areas being rearranged to become more spacious.

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Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya inspected the terminal on Tuesday and remarked: “This is a significant improvement from where we were coming from.”

While continuing to operate, the 33-year-old Naia 1 has been undergoing rehabilitation to the tune of P1.3 billion since January this year.

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Abaya expressed satisfaction after his inspection even though the rehabilitation’s completion date has been moved back 45 days.

Vicente Guerzon, assistant general manager for security and emergency services of the Manila International Airport Authority, said that as of Dec. 16, project contractor DMCI had completed 40 percent of the work.

The project, however, will not meet its scheduled completion date between late February and early March but it should be finished by mid-May.

“For such a big facility, some defects in the ceilings or underneath the floors may have been detected just recently. You can never get an accurate estimate from the very start,” Abaya told reporters accompanying him.

“Being off by 45 days isn’t bad for a billion-peso project,” he added.

He noted that some interior designs could be improved later. “But the basic component of a good airport is there.”

One of the improvements at the terminal was the installation of buckling restrained braces which enhance the structural integrity of the building.

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“These are shock absorbers. This is the first old building to use it. We are using the latest technology to address the structural issues of Naia 1,” Abaya said.

The air-conditioning system has been replaced with 20 new units. Some 16 more will be put in in February.

“Do we still have the world’s worst airport?” Abaya jokingly asked.

Naia 1 was rated the world’s worst airport from 2011 to 2013 on the cyber travel site “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports.”

This year it was dislodged by the Islamabad Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Pakistan, Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport in Saudi Arabia and Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport in Nepal, placing fourth.

Passengers using Naia 1 had complained of overcrowding, long queues, limited seating, smelly toilets, and unfriendly immigration and customs officers.

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TAGS: airports, Infrastructure, Manila, Naia 1, Philippines, rehabilitation
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