May 24, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

PBBM vows to improve Manila airport terminals for ease of travel

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. made renewed commitment Thursday to improve Manila’s airport operations to ensure ease of travel as the administration aggressively works to boost the Philippine tourism sector.

During a meeting with the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) Tourism Sector Group on Thursday in Malacañang Palace, President Marcos acknowledged the challenges at the country’s major airports such as space limitations and insufficient technology in processing travel documents.

The PSAC is composed of business leaders and industry experts who provide technical advice to the President in achieving the government’s economic objectives, particularly in six key sectors such as agriculture; digital infrastructure; healthcare; infrastructure; jobs generation; and tourism.

According to the officials who met the President, there is very limited space in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminals and there’s no physical space to put more immigration counters.

There are also some technical issues on the e-gates handling passports and visas, they said.

“We should put a team specifically to study the technology para hindi na… to study all these proposals to see what it will take for us to be able to… The technology exists so it’s just a question of us adopting,” the President said.

“We will keep… please keep monitoring and see how far we’ll get, where we’re falling behind, where we’re doing right.”

To optimize transportation experience to and from NAIA, the PSAC proposed several “quick win” recommendations that include providing concise and clear transport options for passengers leaving the airports, and designating a large dispatch booth with uniformed dispatchers stationed in designated areas for pickups.

Also part of its medium-term recommendations include improving taxi information on the MIAA website, providing more modes of payment for airport taxis, launching inter-terminal shuttle services, designating a parking area for all rent-a-car companies, and implementing international standard airport signages for tourists to easily determine where to get taxis, car rentals, buses, or terminal transfer shuttles.

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said it has been acting on PSAC’s recommendations and has established a new website, and accredited taxis to prevent passengers from booking “colorum” taxis.

It is also coordinating with transport providers to accept other modes of payment (credit card payments), and procurement of additional buses to facilitate inter-terminal transport.

For its part, on the proposal to add counters, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) reported that its plan to procure 35 additional e-gates in 2023 and 50 more in 2024.

The bureau also said that it would submit to the budget department its request for additional plantilla positions.

On the proposal for a ‘Green Lane’ for repeat travelers, the BI made a commitment to study the coverage of those who will be qualified as repeat travelers to address security concerns.