THE Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the Philippines’ premier gateway, is no longer one of the worst in the world, according to online travel site Guide to Sleeping in Airports.
The government also welcomed the latest survey results that four airports in the country‑-Iloilo International Airport, Mactan-Cebu International Airport, Clark International Airport, and Davao International Airport--were again listed in the top 25 best airports in Asia for 2017.
Based on the Guide to Sleeping in Airports 2017 review, Juba International Airport in South Sudan topped the list of Worst Airports in the World.
“When I passed through a few weeks ago, it was a tent with a rotting plywood floor full of dangerous holes. I have heard rumors now that the floor has collapsed completely. The tents leak during rainy season. You must wade through mud puddles to get to the check-in desk,” stated a survey respondent referring to the Juba International Airport.
Juba was followed by Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport in Saudi Arabia while Port Harcourt International Airport in Nigeria placed third followed by Crete Heraklion International Airport, Greece (4th);
Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport; Nigeria (5th); Santorini Thira National Airport, Greece (6th); Dar es Salaam Julius Nyerere International Airport, Tanzania (7th); Rhodes International Airport, Greece (8th);
Paris Beauvais-Tille Airport, France (9th) and Tashkent International Airport, Uzbekistan (1oth).
Completing the top 20 worst airport list this year are London Luton International Airport, England; Rome Ciampino International Airport, Italy; Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport, Nepal; New York City LaGuardia, USA; Chania International Airport, Greece;
Caracas Simón Bolívar International Airport, Venezuela; Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, China; Cluj International Airport, Romania; Islamabad Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Pakistan, and Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, Ethiopia.
The travel site explained the results were based on the overall airport experience of travelers.
It ranked the overall experience based on these factors: Comfort (Gate seating and availability of rest zones); Services, facilities and things to do; Food options; Immigration/Security; Customer service; Cleanliness; Navigation and ease of transit and Sleepability.
“The airports that appear on our list of the worst in the world are the ones that have the capacity to truly offend travelers. Within these terminals, there appears to be a general disinterest in a positive traveler experience. In some cases, passengers are made to stand or sit on the floor as they await their flights,” the site stated.
It added: “In others, the bathrooms don’t have water, toilet paper, or any semblance of cleanliness. In some cases, the physical structure of the airport is fine, but the personnel are the problem. Got a problem?
“Don’t expect much in terms of customer service at these airports. If you find yourself traveling through one of these 20 terminals, brace yourself. You’ll want to give yourself just enough time to get in and get out.
“A minute more and you’ll be unhappy and uncomfortable - a minute less, and you risk missing your flight. Good luck!”
Manila International Airport Authority general manager Eddie Monreal welcomed the report and thanked the travel site.
“We are happy to hear the recent development. However, the bigger challenge now is on how we can maintain or even surpass this achievement. We are only good as the last race. The task ahead is enormous, we are wishing to be part of the list of best airport in the future,” said Monreal in a text message to Manila Standard.
In the same survey conducted during the past administration and released in October 2016, Naia used to be among the world’s worst airports, landing on the 5th place.
Such placement was attributed to the issue of “laglag-bala,” which was among the main complaints of travelers especially by overseas Filipino workers, but was addressed during the first 100 days of the Duterte administration.
Upon assumption of office in July 2016, Monreal instituted reforms and improvements to better serve the passengers and users of the four terminals of the country’s premier airport.
Among the reforms initiated by Monreal was the reactivation of the Airport Security Center.
ASC, under the supervision of the MIAA general manager, is tasked to protect the security regularity and efficiency of the NAIA by developing and implementing the necessary procedures in compliance with the provisions of the National Civil Aviation Security Program for safeguarding persons, terminals, air navigations, aircraft and equipment against acts of unlawful interference.
Monreal also created a central desk connecting all agencies designed to provide immediate response to passenger complaints and concerns.
In terms of decongestion, the Airport chief, with the help of the Civil Aeronautics Board and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, had introduced restrictions on general aviation and aerial works traffic at Naia that in turn would increase the numbers of commercial flights per hour to minimize flight delays.
Monreal said he was also considering putting up state-of-the-art closed circuit televisions (CCTVs) at the baggage build-up areas particularly at Terminal 1 to replace the old which were installed in the 1990s.
Regular taxis were also allowed to pick up passengers at the arrival area under the new management of the airport.
As part of its continued vigilance, Monreal said, Naia was tightening the security and intelligence work on all terminals to make sure that passengers and airport users were safe while at the terminals.
Top 10 Best Airports in the World
1. Singapore Changi International Airport, Singapore (SIN)
2. Seoul Incheon International Airport, South Korea (ICN)
3. Tokyo Haneda International Airport, Japan (HND)
4. Helsinki Vantaa Airport, Finland (HEL)
5. Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong (HKG)
6. Vancouver International Airport, Canada (YVR)
7. Tokyo Narita International Airport, Japan (NRT)
8. Munich International Airport, Germany (MUC)
9. Tallinn International Airport, Estonia (TLL)
10. Zurich Kloten International Airport, Switzerland (ZRH)
Top 5 Worst Airports in Asia
1. Tashkent International Airport, Uzbekistan (TAS)
2. Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport, Nepal (KTM)
3. Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, China (CAN)
Islamabad Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Pakistan (ISB)
Beijing Capital International Airport, China (PEK)
With Vito Barcelo and Darwin Amojelar