17 years in the making: Full airline operations at NAIA T3 by July 31

From the Department of Transportation and Communications

Secretary Abaya confirms transfer of 5 major airlines from Terminal 1 starting next week

Seventeen (17) years after the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) awarded the concession agreement for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 project, the modern passenger terminal building (PTB) will finally be ready for full airline operations this coming July 31st.

“We are extremely pleased to confirm that full airline operations will begin at NAIA Terminal 3 next week. Our gateway airport will now be able to welcome 3.5 million more passengers with modern facilities every year, and Terminal 1 will now be considerably decongested to improve passenger convenience,” Secretary of Transportation Jun Abaya stated.

“The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) has informed us that Delta Airlines will have its first flight out of Terminal 3 on August 1st, while KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will move within the first week of August. Singapore Airlines, Emirates, and Cathay Pacific will follow suit by the end of next month. These five carriers have the highest volume of international flights coming in and out of NAIA, so we look forward to giving them a new home,” Abaya added.

This project was awarded in 1997, for supposed completion in 2002. Legal issues related to its bidding process mired the project, however, delaying its opening until 2008, and even then it was only 52% operational. Faced with this situation, then-DOTC Secretary Mar Roxas initiated talks with Terminal 3’s original contractor, Takenaka Corporation of Japan, to complete its facilities regardless of the ongoing cases.

“When I assumed office in October 2012, I continued Secretary Roxas’ negotiations with Takenaka until we were able to convince them in July last year to finish the project. President Aquino’s Daang Matuwid promise calls for political will to prevail in order to deliver the government services our people deserve, so we made sure that 17 years and 4 administrations later, the whole Terminal 3 facility may be enjoyed by the public within this term,” Abaya remarked.

Takenaka’s $ 40-million contract began in August last year. Over the past one-year period, the Japanese firm has undertaken completion works for systems such as, flight information displays, computer terminals, gate coordination, landing bridges, and fire protection systems. As of July 18, 2014, around 85% of these works had been completed. Certain systems which are non-critical to full airline operations, such as the building maintenance system, will be completed within the year.

The transfer of the five airlines will reduce Terminal 1’s annual passenger throughput from the current eight million down to its design capacity of 4.5 million. This will free up more space at Terminal 1 and reduce the number of travelers affected by the ongoing rehabilitation works.