After being named as the world’s worst airport by “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports” travel website, Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 (NAIA 1) will finally undergo a major rehabilitation starting December this year.
According to Transportation secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, portions of the NAIA 1 will be closed temporarily during the rehabilitation, wherein some operations will be transferred to NAIA 3 in phases.
Upgrade of the NAIA 3 starts this month, and hopefully once parts of the terminal 3 become operational, some operations will be transferred so NAIA 1’s load will be lightened.
Japanese contractor Takenaka Corporation is given until July 2014 to complete the civil works of the 182,500 square meter NAIA 3, wherein only half of terminal 3 is considered structurally safe since it partially opened in 2008.
The NAIA 1 rehabilitation project is scheduled to be completed by November 2014, in time for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meetings. The Philippines will host the APEC Summit in 2015.
“Clearly the main objective is to get NAIA 1 rehabilitated for APEC so if convenience of everybody will always be our parameter, we cannot move forward. So we have to swallow the bitter pill to get things moving forward, and improve,” Abaya said.
The government has budgeted 2.8 billion pesos for the rehabilitation project which will be led by the world-renowned designer Kenneth Cobonpue and his team, and architecture firm Leandro V. Locsin and Associates.
Cobonpue’s team will design the interior areas, fitting it out with the proper carpet, furniture, lighting and others to spruce up the airport, while Locsin firm will take care of the architectural backbone of the terminal building. They will redefine the us eof space in the congested airport terminal, especially the areas now being used for offices or by concessionaires.
“The objective is to have an ‘aha’ effect when passengers, Filipinos and foreigners, go through the airport,” Abaya noted.
“Lighter materials will be used. NAIA-1 will soon have a more modern and have a Filipino, tropical feel,” he added. NAIA-1’s current design reflects a 1980’s era, when it was built by the Locsins.
The Cobonpue team’s architectural design plans that featured a “Greenbelt kind of feel,” in the greeters area, with open tent, cafe and small restaurants and landscaping.
With Cobonpue’s team and Locsin’s firm team up for the NAIA 1 rehabilitation project, the government is quite confident that we will no longer be in the world’s worst airports list in 2014.