Can we save the Manila airports? (OfficiallyPhilippines.com)

(This write-up was published in OfficiallyPhilippines.com last May 24, 2011)

For years now, travelers have been transiting through the Manila airports without much ado, but it was not until the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA Terminal 1) has been included in the list of 2010 Worst Airports in the World that people started to be more vocal about it, which prompted the local officials to [finally] take notice of it and do something about it. The list was featured in the international website called “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports,” which ranked NAIA as the fifth world’s worst airport.

In 2009, this Manila airport ranked seven in the same list, and it moved up—or more appropriately, moved down the list to gain the fifth position. The ranking was based on the airport facilities, safety concerns, waiting area, service of the staff, security, services to pass the time, presence of bribery, and other general concerns. NAIA Terminal 1 apparently did not meet the grade, as well as other infamous airports like Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, which came first on the list, followed by Paris Beauvais, Moscow Sheremetyevo, and Los Angeles.

Manila rounds up the top five list—a far cry from its neighboring Asian countries such as Singapore, Korea, and Hong Kong, which were included in the counterpart list of Best Airports in the World. Some of the reviews that the website highlighted were:

“…Think of a bombed out ruin… It’s like a cattle yard… Toilets filthy. No seating once you get through customs.” – Brenty

“Bribery and corruption in this airport is rife…” – Mecanix

“…You have to pay the airport user fee (bribe) to catch a connecting flight…” – PaulJ

Promoting tourism

As a Filipino, I would like to promote travel to the Philippines because I love my country and I think that it is really beautiful. The Philippines has a lot of natural wonders that would attract any travel enthusiast. But it could get somewhat embarrassing to promote travel to this side of the world when I know that all the foreign travelers have to pass through either NAIA Terminal 1 or 2.

Airports are the windows to the country and it would not come as a surprise if foreigners would not have a good impression of ours. Even if every Filipino would be a travel ambassador to the Philippines, it would still be hard to sell it primarily due to the travel experience that people would encounter when going in and out of our airports.

If our Asian neighbors can step it up, why can’t we?

<Read the rest of the article HERE.>