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Manila airport world's worst, senator says
THE Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila is “the world’s worst airport, a Philippine senator on Tuesday said.
Sen. Ralph Recto said lack of money can never be an excuse in not improving security and passenger comfort arrangements in the NAIA where three government agencies derive much of their combined annual P16.5 billion income.
Recto also said even a fraction of the fees paid by passengers and planes to the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), and the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) for use of NAIA will be enough to install "clean toilets, CCTVs and comfortable couches" in its four terminals.
"If a mall charges a mere P10 for the use of a hotel-like toilet, I can't see why a Filipino travelling abroad who pays P550 in terminal fee and P1,620 in travel tax should be entitled to less," Recto said.
In 2012, MIAA posted a gross operating income of P8.28 billion and a net income after tax of P2.64 billion. Of its gross, P3.3 billion came from "toll and terminal fees" paid by departing passengers, who cough up P550 if bound for abroad, and P200 if headed for domestic destinations.
In 2012 airport toll agency (TIEZA) raked in P3.5 billion in travel tax levied on 2,271,468 departing passengers.
Recto said its collection would have been higher if not for the exemption granted by law to overseas Filipino workers, 443,868 of whom were reported to have exited in 2012.
He stressed that CAAP is also a money-maker posting a gross income of P4.7 billion and a net income of P1.93 billion in 2012.
“While CAAP derives its income from pilot licensing fees and aircraft airworthiness certificates, what cannot be denied is that most of the holders of these use the country's premier airport,” Recto said.
He, however, commended CAAP's move to bankroll the installation of CCTVs in NAIA's Terminal 3 which he said "must be the template in using internally-generated income to improve the NAIA complex."
Recto urged TIEZA to follow CAAP's lead and plow back some of the tax it collects from NAIA-exiting passengers in providing more amenities inside its four terminals.
“In fact, compared to Congress, the three, being government corporations with the authority to use their income, can easily allocate funds for NAIA-improvement projects,” Recto said.
He pointed out that NAIA has a "huge base of paying customers," some 31,558,002 passengers in 2012 alone. The fleet expansion of local budget airlines plus the projected uptick in foreign tourist arrival ensures "strong revenue flow" in the years ahead.