The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), formerly known as Manila International Airport (MIA), was once considered as the world’s worst airport showed remarkable improvement in 2018 according to the British-based consultancy firm Skytrax.
The country’s main international gateway ranked 10th in the World’s Most Improved Airport award based on the quality performance by all airports in the world featured in the survey. Rome Fiumicino Airport grabbed the limelight as the World’s Most Improved Airport in 2018, Perth Airport came in second place and Calgary International Airport in third. Here is the list prepared by Skytrax:
The World’s Most Improved Airports
- Rome Fiumicino
- Taiwan Taoyuan
- Moscow Sheremetyevo
- Houston Intercontinental
The World Airport Survey is held in high regard for transparency of process and principles of independence. There is no sponsorship hence there is no external influence to any part of the survey making it the most rest respected global airport customer study.
The survey period operated from August 2017 to February 2018 covering 550 airports worldwide. Skytrax said the 2018 World Airport Survey was based on 13.73 million questionnaires accomplished by over 100 nationalities in 3 different dialects, namely English, Spanish, and Chinese.
Experiences of a traveler were evaluated across different airport services, there were 39 customer survey topics and here are 20 of those:
- Getting to and from the Airport, Ease of Access
- Public transport options, efficiency, and prices
- Taxi availability and prices
- Availability of luggage trolleys (airside & landside)
- Terminal comfort, ambiance, and design
- Terminal cleanliness, floors, seating and public areas
- Seating facilities throughout terminals
- Immigration – queuing times / system
- Immigration – staff attitude
- Waiting times at Security screening
- Courtesy and Attitude of Security staff
- Check-In facilities, queuing systems and seating
- Way-finding and Terminal signage
- Clarity of Boarding Calls and Airport PA’s
- Flight Info Screens – clarity/quality of information
- Friendliness of Airport Staff
- Language skills for Airport Staff
- Ease of Transit through Airport
- Location of Airline Lounges
- Washroom and Shower facilities in terminal
NAIA earned the moniker as the “World’s Worst Airport” which was bestowed by irate travelers. There were mounting complaints about the frequent power outages, poor air-conditioning system, insufficient seats, unsanitary toilets, and complex terminal transfers.
In 2015, NAIA became notorious for the bullet planting scam, laglag bala. The modus involves Filipino airport officials planting bullets in the baggage of a traveler and bust him for illegal possession of ammunition. The victims were held for days and were asked to shell out money or face charges.
“I think it is basically the little things that we have done. The little efforts that the team has implemented with the cooperation of all stakeholders… the improvement of the facilities that we’ve implemented so far,” Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal said in a press briefing.
“Nasa ika-sampu na tayo. Ang importante, ano pa ang dapat nating gawin moving forward. That is even a bigger task for us. Paangat ng paangat mas mahirap pa ang challenge. There’s still hope to improve NAIA (We are now the 10th most improved airport. What is important is what we will do to move forward. That is even a bigger task for us. We face tougher challenges as we go high),” Monreal added.
With the success, Monreal is looking for other avenues to improve. His sights are now trained on the proliferation of colorum taxis, vehicles without a franchise, within the NAIA complex. As well as abusive taxi drivers who overcharge airport passengers.
Meanwhile, NAIA stands to get a $ 6.7 billion facelift from President Duterte’s ambitious modernization program. There were unsolicited proposals submitted by various groups to upgrade NAIA.
- A P350-billion proposal from the NAIA Consortium, composed of 7 of the Philippines’ biggest conglomerates. The members are Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc., Alliance Global Group Inc., Ayala Corporation, Filinvest Development Corporation, JG Summit Holdings Inc., LT Group Inc., and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation.
- A P156-billion proposal from Megawide Construction Corporation and its Bangalore-based partner GMR Infrastructure Limited.
For the sixth year, Singapore’s Changi Airport is still the world’s best airport, according to the Awards given by Skytrax. The other top airports are Seoul Incheon, Tokyo Haneda, Hong Kong, Doha Hamad, Munich, Centrair Nagoya, London Heathrow, Zurich, and Frankfurt
Getting the number 1 spot is a gargantuan task, but it’s doable. Monreal et al. don’t have to look far, focus on the 39 customer survey topics everything is there, only a strong resolve is needed to get to the top. Or be ambitious and target for the World’s Top Airport with modernization under the radar of President Duterte NAIA management have to put their act together and improve on things within their control.
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