MIAA prepares for Holy Week exodus, expects 1.2M passengers

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) on Saturday, April 1, activated the “OPLAN Biyaheng Ayos: Semana Santa 2023” in anticipation of 1.2 million passengers passing through the four terminals of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) during the course of 10 days.

In a statement, MIAA General Manager Cesar Chiong said that, in light of the impending holidays, which will extend through the Day of Valor on April 10, and the lifting of border controls worldwide following the COVID-19 epidemic, passenger traffic may surpass 140,000 in a single day.

He said MIAA had made arrangements for enough personnel and equipment to handle the influx, as well as the availability of essential airport services like electricity, water, air conditioning, and communications; amenities and "malasakit (care)” kits for passengers in the event of flight disruptions; and assistance desks in all four terminals to address the worries of the traveling public.

“We’re prepared. We are doing all of these initiatives in order to give our riding public a seamless travel experience here at NAIA, especially since this is the first time that we’ll have quite a long Semana Santa after 2019,” he said said.

For his part, MIAA Senior Assistant General Manager Bryan Co said that one of the most important things they are doing is talking to our government partners because it is not just MIAA that works with them, saying there are over 20 different government agencies that work with them.

“Among the most important right now, which we see as a critical battleground in terms of managing the queues and the experience, is (the Bureau of) Immigration (BI), as well as our final security points under the Office for Transportation Security (OTS),” he continued.

He added that BI had promised to increase staffing at the NAIA terminals over Easter Week, bringing in 63 temporary immigration officials from the main office and other ports. To make sure that the immigration counters at BI's terminals are properly staffed before the influx, MIAA also met with the terminal managers.

Likewise, OTS will send out 50 more employees to work as baggage feeders and passenger controllers. Over 100 OTS employees will be reassigned to passenger screening locations as of April 1 as MIAA assumes control of non-passenger inspection sites around the airport complex.

On the other hand, airlines were urged to strictly abide by the Air Passenger Bill of Rights, extend "malasakit" to the traveling public, send out enough "sweepers" to find customers who needed priority in immigration lines, open their check-in counters as early as possible, and close them on time.

Together with the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the local government units of Pasay City and Parañaque City, law enforcement agencies are on board to ensure safe, secure, and orderly operations, which would aid in facilitating the seamless flow of traffic surrounding the NAIA complex, MIAA said.

The MIAA said it has requested its transport concessionaires to ensure maximum deployment of units, particularly during peak arrival times, and Point-to-Point (P2P) operators to deploy additional buses ply the NAIA route in order to meet the increased demand for land transportation at NAIA. Moreover, MIAA and Grab's "Airport to Anywhere" program uses a specific fleet of Grab-accredited vehicles with fixed pricing and no surge fees, whereas NAIA only permits metered white taxis.

“To avoid possible delays, passengers are advised to check in online, arrive at the airport on time—at least 3 hours before departure for international flights and 2 hours before departure for domestic flights—and go straight to the pre-departure area immediately after checking in,” it said.