NAIA invites 'world's worst airport' title anew – Miriam

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential candidate Miriam Defensor Santiago on Monday warned that the five-hour blackout that stranded thousands of passengers threatens to put the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) back in the list of worst airports in the world.

Five-hour power outage hit NAIA Terninal 3 on Saturday night
Five-hour power outage hit NAIA Terninal 3 on Saturday night. Photo Credit: Twitter/iambryanbanquil

Santiago, laureate of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for government service said the administration must immediately investigate the NAIA-3 incident on Saturday and remove from office those who are found responsible.

"The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) seems eager to regain the 'world's worst airport' title which it lost only in 2015, not only for inconveniencing passengers, but for not working as it should," the senator said.

The NAIA was the world's worst airport from 2011 to 2013, and the fourth worst in 2014, according to online travel website Guide to Sleeping in Airports, which ranks airports based on comfort, convenience, cleanliness and customer service.

Santiago was responding to news that as of Sunday, some 80 domestic flights from NAIA Terminal 3 have been cancelled and another 80 international and local flights have been delayed due to the blackout, affecting some 15,000 passengers.

The airport administration blamed the outage on a Manila Electric Company (Meralco) supply trip, and claimed that even after Meralco restored power, the NAIA remained without electricity. Meralco has meanwhile denied a power outage.

Santiago, for her part, said that the NAIA must have uninterrupted power supply. "Assuming for the sake of argument that the Meralco line tripped, where were the generators? The explanation that they were not working is unacceptable," she added.

The infrastructure agenda Santiago posted on her website includes the development of a modern international airport. The NAIA runway design, she said, is one of the main factors for congestion.

"The runways are perpendicular to each other, barring planes from using one runway when the other is in use. If NAIA will be expanded, we must build runways parallel to each other," the senator said.

"In the meantime, it would be wise to reallocate some flights to the airport in Clark, which is currently underutilized. Clark Airport should complement and not necessarily replace NAIA," she added.

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