Airports or Air Farts?


"The Guide to Sleeping in Airports" called our Ninoy Aquino International Airport as one of the "Worst Airports in the World." I find this particularly interesting because NAIA is the main international airport in our country. If this is one of the worst, then what would be their impression if they get to visit our local domestic airport here in Tacloban with its quarter of a century old (perhaps I'm exaggerating) baggage belt.
If the factors considered were  “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.” I'd say check, check, check, x, check,check,check,x,x.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) wants to increase the current 30Php terminal fee by 500% making it 150php. This is 50php short of the terminal fee I paid when I was at the Mactan International Airport this    December.
With around five airlines and 17 flights to Manila, Cebu or Iloilo daily, improvements of the facility should first be made before increasing charges. Their toilets are dismal and there are even times when there is no water for flushing or washing your hands. The air conditioning system works like a fan. The seats are old and dilapidated. There are also limited seats so others resort to sitting outside the terminal building while waiting to be checked in. This becomes a problem on busy days. 


My friend Ronald Reyes of the Leyte Samar Daily wrote in his article titled " Finally, a ‘new’ Tacloban airportprinted out today this list of grievances:
" On the airport’s maintenance and cleanliness, area outside terminal building, near the arrival area entrance from tarmac is not well maintained. There are instances when the area is littered with trash. On some occasions, this area also has an obnoxious smell. Cleaning implements (brooms) are left in the places where in-coming passengers can see; lacking promotional collaterals / information materials at the visitor information counter, while its counter staff should be trained to respond to queries and concerns of passengers / visitors; and for porters and its porterage system, they need to improve appearance (comparable to porters at the NAIA and Mactan airports).
On the airport’s exit and arrival area: door of the arrival area is not as wide, thus passengers crowd by the door when luggage tags are inspected as they leave the arrival. Most of the time, Police assistance desk is unmanned.
For the transport service, there is a need to clarify status of airport land transports service providers, like are they franchise holders? are franchise issued by LTFRB and/or if accredited, by what agency, other than DOT? If yes, what are the guidelines for accreditation? Drivers and barkers of airport land transport service providers approach and tag along arriving passengers to offer their services. Demeanor/decorum of drivers and barkers (rowdy, noisy, loudly making comments about arriving passengers). This gives our airport a “market place” ambiance. Also there is no fixed rates.
At the Arrival Parking area, clarification is needed on who are authorized to park in the area near the arrival area (directly in front of airline cargo offices and VIP Lounge). Public Utility Jeeps? (in several instances these vehicles have parked in the area to load luggage of passengers)Airport land transport concessionaires? (some are parked in this area, others are parked along the access road) Privately owned vehicles? Government-owned vehicles?
On Security and safety, the DOT has noted the presence of children begging from arriving passengers. This may be the only airport in the country where beggars can freely roam around the airport, particularly the arrival area.
For the Security officers, there is a need for values reorientation for certain security officers for them to remember proper demeanor / decorum when manning the entrance gate as well as x-ray machine. (lacking common courtesy; one was even seen with his feet raised/resting on the x-ray machine acting as though he was lounging in their own leaving room).Personal items (comb, mirror, lunch boxes, cups) are openly placed on the desk at the entrance, and are seen by the passengers.
For the Check-in area and pre-departure area, there is a need to improve physical layout and cleanliness.
Along with these, rest rooms also lack of maintenance. Airconditioning facilities not enough. Ventilation is bad specially when there are many passengers. The canteen also needs to improve its look and cleanliness, along with its restrooms.
To top it all, VIP lounge should be ‘VIP lounge’, that is free from old furnishings (dusty, sagging upholstery), old curtains and anything which is a sore-sight to any excited, eager visiting dignitaries in the region. "
I believe he hit the nail in the head. 

It is no wonder that www.tourisminthephilippines.com chose to post this pic of our airport:
Picturesque from a distance because of the fishermen. Albeit this is a good way to hide frm the rest of the world the real situation of our derelict airport.
I am sure that these problems are also experienced by other airports throughout the archipelago. How can we attract foreign tourists this way when the first thing that welcomes them to our land is backward.
Take for instance the NAIA-Digichive issue where Digichive, who was handling all of NAIA's placement ads. Yes, those things that you see on the walls while you take all those long walks before you reach your terminal rakes in hundreds of millions each year. Yet Digichive duped the government and did not properly impose fair profit-sharing. Had the government properly acted on this and did not let these people win, then perhaps these income from ads could have helped developed NAIA into a livable airport where travelers would love to sleep and lounge around. (This is I think the basis for the worst airport tag.) There would also be enough budget to have actual working cameras and roofs that does not fall off. 



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