Aviation think tank CAPA – Centre for Aviation urged government to address the congestion issues that have been hounding the country’s main international gateway for years while passenger traffic remains low due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The loss of traffic from the pandemic gives some temporary relief to congestion and a good opportunity to tackle infrastructure issues, but congestion problems will undoubtedly return when demand bounces back,” CAPA said.
Additionally, commuter group The Passenger Forum said the rehabilitation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport is urgently needed given that the gateway is operating beyond its capacity, that has resulted to passenger problems and inconveniences such as long lines, flight delays, and even the lack of resting areas.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade earlier said the Manila International Airport Authority, that currently manages and operates NAIA, would continue its ongoing rehabilitation and reconstruction program while unsolicited proposals from various private proponents are being negotiated. Meanwhile, ongoing solutions outside Manila are in the works to help ease congestion at NAIA.
Despite the ongoing solutions such as the construction of a new passenger terminal in Clark International Airport and the San Miguel Corporation’s P740 billion Manila International Airport project in Bulacan that is set to start construction within the first quarter of 2021, NAIA is still the country’s primary international gateway and it should be ready to handle the air and passenger traffic as soon as the world recovers from Covid-19.
Instead of focusing on useless initiatives, such as changing the airport’s name, government officials should have taken advantage of the lull in traffic and congestion to improve the infrastructure of the airport that would prepare the country for an eventual bounce back.
The good news is that it is not too late yet for transportation officials to launch action, given our country’s abnormally slow recovery from the pandemic.*