Press Release
December 12, 2022

Poe: Time to bring solutions to airport passengers' woes

Sen. Grace Poe exhorted the government to implement a string of measures to ease congestion and improve the services at the country's airports.

Poe made the call amid the expected influx of passengers using the Philippines' various gateways, including the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to travel for the holidays.

"Space is becoming increasingly scarce in the whole NAIA complex," she said in a privilege speech Monday.

NAIA has a rated capacity of 35 million passengers and 250,000 flights. But in 2019, actual passenger volume reached 47.88 million, and actual flights reached 277,530. The airport has breached passenger capacity by over 36%, while flight capacity exceeded by 11%.

"In other words, our primary aerial entry point is now a major chokepoint. Simple lang po ang hatol sa NAIA: tinimbang ngunit kulang pa rin," the chairperson of the committee on public services said.

Poe reminded the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), which manages NAIA, to fulfill the laundry list of solutions, commitments and promises it has put forward during the hearings for the 2023 budget.

"Next year, sisingilin po namin kayo. Hahanapin po namin ang actual outputs ng digitalization and automation at ang capacity-building reduction of red-tape across all phases of passenger processing," she said.

Poe urged the Department of Transportation to work with MIAA to embark on time-motion studies on the duration of the entire procedure a passenger has to complete at the NAIA.

This involves going through the X-ray procedures, immigration lines, actual check-in, and the numerous checks for flight itineraries.

"All these tediousness add to the painfully long three to four hours boarding procedure, which is sometimes even longer than the flight time itself. We should stop this ridiculousness all at once using actual data to improve passenger experience," Poe said.

Poe also pushed for the passage of the proposed E-Government and E-Governance bills that would automate and digitize transactions in all government agencies, including NAIA.

She said airport concessionaires should make available cashless payment as an option for purchases. Automated Teller Machines should also be functioning for travellers' cash needs.

For night-rated international airports outside of Metro Manila, Poe said establishments should operate 24 hours if commercially viable.

"All these will lead to passenger convenience that will spur more visitors and economic activities," she said.

"NAIA is the court of first impression. Tourists may have been enticed by our sunny coastlines, delicious food, and friendly smiles. But upon landing, it is the airport which first greets them. NAIA is where we should be putting our best foot forward," Poe said.

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