Poe urges gov’t: Solve airport passengers’ woes

Senator Grace Poe has called on the government to start implementing a system that would help improve transportation services at the country's airports.

Poe made the call as she noted that space is becoming increasingly scarce at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), while many people are traveling for the holidays.

“Space is becoming increasingly scarce in the whole NAIA complex,” Poe said during her privilege speech on Monday, December 13.

Poe noted that NAIA already 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, showing that the airport has breached passenger capacity by over 36 percent while flight capacity exceeded by 11 percent.

"In other words, our primary aerial entry point is now a major chokepoint,” said Poe, Senate Public Services Committee chairman.

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), which manages NAIA, should fulfill its commitments and promises it has put forward during the hearings for the 2023 budget, she said.

"Next year, sisingilin po namin kayo. Hahanapin po namin ang actual outputs ng digitalization and automation at ang (Next year, we will audit you. We will look for the actual outputs of digitization and automation and the) capacity-building reduction of red-tape across all phases of passenger processing,” she stressed.

At the same time, Poe urged the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to work with MIAA on time-motion studies on how passengers can quickly finish all the procedures at the NAIA, including 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," the senator 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 stressed.