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NAIA terminals ready for Holy Week passenger influx

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“We’re prepared.”

This was the pronouncement made by Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Cesar Chiong, in connection with the expected influx of passengers at the premier NAIA Terminals this Holy Week.

Chiong said that the ‘OPLAN Biyaheng Ayos: Semana Santa 2023’ has been activated as they anticipate 1.2 million passengers in the four terminals of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) over a ten-day period beginning Palm Sunday.

With the upcoming holidays lasting until the Day of Valor on April 10 and border restrictions lifted globally since the COVID-19 pandemic, passenger traffic could reach 140,000 on a single day, said Chiong.

In line with this, Chiong assured that MIAA has ensured sufficient manpower and equipment for the influx, as well as the availability of critical airport utilities, such as electricity, water, air conditioning, and communications; amenities and “malasakit” kits for passengers in the event of flight disruptions; and assistance desks in all four terminals to address the riding public’s concerns.

“We are doing all of these initiatives in order to give our riding public a seamless travel experience here at NAIA, especially since this is the first time that we’ll have quite a long Semana Santa after 2019,” Chiong said in a press conference with Senior Assistant General Manager Bryan Co.

Co, for his part, said: “One of the critical things we’re doing is talking to our government partners because it’s not just MIAA; there are more than 20 different government agencies working with us. Among the most important right now, which we see as a critical battleground in terms of managing the queues and the experience, is (the Bureau of) Immigration (BI), as well as our final security points under the Office for Transportation Security (OTS).”

Co also explained that the BI has committed to bolstering its manpower at the NAIA terminals during Holy Week, with 63 immigration officers temporarily coming in from the main office and other ports, adding that MIAA also met with BI’s terminal supervisors to ensure that their immigration counters are fully staffed before the surge.

Similarly, Co said the OTS will deploy an additional 50 personnel to serve as baggage feeders and passenger controllers. Starting April 1, around 100 OTS personnel will be re-deployed to passenger screening points as MIAA takes over non-passenger inspection areas around the airport complex.

Meanwhile, Co said that GM Chiong has reminded airline companies to strictly adhere to the Air Passenger Bill of Rights and extend “malasakit” to the riding public, deploy enough “sweepers” to locate passengers requiring prioritization in immigration queues, open their check-in counters earlier when possible, and close them on time.

Law enforcement agencies are on board to ensure safe, secure, and orderly operations, along with the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the local government units of Pasay City and Parañaque City, which will help facilitate the smooth flow of traffic around the NAIA complex, he added.

To service the increased demand for land transportation at NAIA, MIAA has urged its transport concessionaires to ensure maximum deployment of units, especially during peak hours of arrivals, and Point-to-Point (P2P) operators to deploy more buses plying the NAIA route. In addition, NAIA allows metered white taxis, while MIAA and Grab’s “Airport to Anywhere” program deploys a dedicated fleet of Grab-accredited vehicles with fixed pricing and no surge charges.

To avoid possible delays, passengers are advised to check-in online, arrive at the airport on time—at least 3 hours before departure for international flights and 2 hours before departure for domestic flights—and go straight to the pre-departure area immediately after checking in.

In order to expedite processing at the Bureau of Quarantine (BoQ) and BI counters, international inbound travelers to the Philippines are reminded to complete the eTravel registration online prior to arrival.

Philippine passport holders are encouraged to use the immigration e-gates upon arrival, said Co.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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