DOTC: After 17 years, NAIA 3 fully operational by July 31

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

THE Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 project will finally be ready for full airline operations by the end of this month 17 years after the government awarded its concession agreement, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said Thursday.

With the opening of the NAIA 3 on July 31, Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said that the terminal will now be ready to welcome 3.5 million more passengers as five more airline firms will transfer their operations here.

"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," he said.

He said the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) has informed the DOTC that Delta Airlines will have its first flight out of Terminal 3 on August 1, 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.

Abad said 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."

The NAIA 3 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 percent operational.

Faced with this situation, Abaya said then-Transportation and Communication Secretary Manuel Roxas II 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," he said.

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 18 July 2014, around 85 percent of these works had been completed, DOTC said.

Certain systems, which are non-critical to full airline operations, such as the building maintenance system, will be completed within the year, it added.

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. (SDR/Sunex)

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