By Ma. Cristina Arayata
MANILA – Passenger influx at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is expected to reach 140,000 daily during the Holy Week, up from the current 120,000 at the country’s main gateway, an official said Tuesday.
Bryan Co, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) senior assistant general manager, said in a public briefing that many would want to enjoy the holidays as this is the first Holy Week since 2020 that domestic and international borders are open.
Passenger surge is expected to last until May or the tailend of the hot dry season, Co said.
“We are almost at the pre-pandemic level. In 2019, we were processing around 48 million passengers (at the NAIA) annually. Last year, we had around 31 million passengers, and this year, we are expecting around 41 to 43 million passengers. So that’s a big increase from the seven million passengers we had at the NAIA in 2021,” he said.
Co said MIAA has enough manpower and is in close coordination with airlines and various agencies operating at the NAIA to avoid delays and manage the queues.
Additional closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras have been installed to help the management get clear views of congestion points and processing areas.
There are plans to put up more CCTV units to address possible incidents or complaints since recordings can be easily reviewed and serve as evidence against unscrupulous acts.
Co advised passengers to allot at least three to four hours prior to an international flight and at two hours before a domestic flight.
Travelers must also consider the traffic condition on the way to the airport and take advantage of the online payment system for travel tax to lessen the need to queue.
Help desks will be placed across airport terminals where passengers could ask their concerns, he said.
Co said that as part of the continuous initiative to address congestion at the NAIA, Terminal 2 will be made an all-domestic terminal by July 1.
Immigration officers assigned at Terminal 2 could then augment the manpower at Terminals 1 and 3 which will both cater to international flights.
By June 16, all remaining Philippine Airlines (PAL) international flights will be transferred to Terminal 1.
PAL has been the sole airline using Terminal 2 for its domestic and international flights.
Its flights to and from the United States, Canada and Middle East have been transferred to Terminal 1 since December 2022.
“By doing this, we are making the terminal design more efficient, and will increase the Terminal 2’s capacity by 20 to 25 percent since this will be dedicated for domestic flights,” he said. (PNA)