The Philippine government has announced that it is allocating US$110 million to revamp Terminal 1 of its Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) as it looks to boost tourism.
The makeover of the 31-year-old facility – often the despair of Filipino travellers and no stranger to “Worst Airport in the World” lists – represents maintenance activities “which have been deferred for several years”, budget and management secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad told local media.
Priority will be given to the urgent structural retrofit of Naia 1, followed by construction of a new taxiway to alleviate congestion. When it opened in 1981, the terminal was designed to handle only 4.5 million passengers a year, but it now services 7.3 million passengers annually.
No less important will be the rehabilitation of its 72 washrooms, often the source of vociferous complaints for their lack of running water.
Philippine president Benigno Aquino III has declared that tourism is a crucial element of his economic reform agenda. He said they were aiming to attract 10 million tourists annually by 2016, up from the current four million. However, visitor growth to the archipelago – boasting some of the region’s most stunning coastlines – has been stymied time and again due to poor infrastructure and guest facilities.
Some domestic airports in the central and southern Philippines are also due to get makeovers.
Margie T Logarta