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Three airport stakeholders offer unique airport improvement for government for free

A unique offer that would enable the government to fast-track the improvement of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) without any exorbitant cost or revenue loss to government, or increased terminal fees for travelers, is now being offered by three prominent airport stakeholders who have united for the said purpose.

It was learned that veteran ground handlers dnata, Inc. (Philippine subsidiary of the United Arab Emirates’ dnata) and Philippine Airport Ground Support Solutions, Inc. (PAGSS), together with the Bureau of Immigration’s e-Gate provider Ascent Solutions Philippines, Inc., have banded together and volunteered to equip NAIA with automated biometrics and Common Use Self Service (CUSS) systems and equipment, including self-service check-in and bag drop, additional e-Gates and automated flight boarding.

It was learned that these systems can substantially reduce passenger processing times and, following their proposed implementation schedule, should augment the capacity of NAIA Terminal 1 by some two million passengers per year within just three months.

After further rollout within six months, the departure capacity of Terminal 1 should increase by four million more passengers per year and Terminal 3 by eight million, said PAGSS President Janette Cordero.

Reacting to inflated rehabilitation figures and proposed unnecessary upgrades whose costs will inevitably and needlessly be passed on to passengers, the group has set out to demonstrate NAIA’s functionality up until the flagship New Manila International Airport opens in less than five years.

The group does not intend to charge the government or the riding public any fee for the use of its equipment.

Too, the group offered to provide the services of aviation experts in airport operations and optimization of runway capacity to support the Government’s efforts in developing ways and means to decongest NAIA.

Cordero emphasized that said services are at no cost or charge to the Government, adding it remains to be seen if the government will act favorably on this complimentary offer, or if the Department of Transportation (DOTr) will still insist on surrendering control over its prime airport real estate to private entities, despite numerous criticisms arising from the significant foregone government revenues, the proposed substantial increases in airport charges and the futility of spending to expand an already congested single-runway airport.

“Having gained invaluable insight into NAIA from years of experience, we know with certainty that the main pain point of passengers, airlines, and airport users is congestion, long queues resulting in inconvenience. This issue can be satisfactorily addressed through automation,” Cordero said.

She added: “With the right guidance and the support of airport stakeholders, NAIA can be operated more efficiently, without over-spending or over-charging.”

Itchie G. Cabayan
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