Manila: Following a barrage of criticism from online sites over the sorry state of its airport facilities, the Philippine government said it will be fast-tracking refurbishment activities to make travel accommodations more acceptable to international standards.
A statement issued by the presidential palace yesterday said that in response to a directive by President Benigno Aquino III to improve Metro Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), refurbishment and upgrading works for the airports are now under way.
"Concerned government agencies are now fast-tracking the improvement of the country's airport terminals amid the negative observations made by the international community on the inferior condition of the 30-year old NAIA," presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said. Lacierda was referring to the NAIA terminal 1, one of the three terminals in NAIA complex.
The Philippine's main international air gateway had been at the receiving end of strong criticisms for its inadequate and unkept facilities, which critics said is unbecoming of a country which a large number of its citizens are regular air travellers and which is trying to attract more international tourists to visit the country.
Latest reports by CNN's travel site, CNNGO.com, placed NAIA on No. 5 on its list of "World's Most Hated Airports".
NAIA's Terminal 1, now ranks No. 1 among the "Worst Airports in the World," according to "The Guide to Sleeping in Airports," a polling site that gauges the quality of accommodations in air gateways. Thousands of travellers use the NAIA everyday, including Filipino migrant workers and travellers who are able to compare the quality of the facility against those of other countries.
The airport also contributes substantially to the country's coffers in terms of direct revenues from terminal fees and indirect earnings such as jobs generation and duties. Lacierda said the improvements will mainly involve makeovers on the façade of the airport.
"There are structural renovations being done. Apart from that, we also have the interior renovations being done as well. For instance, lighting, landscaping..." he said.
Interviewed over YouTube's World View Interview Series on Friday, Aquino acknowledged the need to improve the NAIA saying the structure has already reached its saturation point.
"There is a plan for it, for improving the NAIA, structurally and aesthetically.....It will be a stop-gap measure for the next four or five years because we are looking at an alternative for that complex given the fact that it will be hard for us to support the 10 million tourist arrivals that we are targeting," the President said over YouTube's World View interview series.