- Posted January 10, 2013 by
pasay city, Philippines
Briton calls airport terminal ‘home’
By Eric B. Apolonio | Posted on Jan. 10, 2013
Exactly two years ago when two foreign nationals made the Ninoy Aquino International Airport their home while waiting to be flown home, another foreigner—a British subject—met the same fate.
Gary Peter Austin, 52, a former jockey, has been living at the departure lounge for the last 22 days, unable to fly home because he has no money and no plane ticket.
Austin says he came to Manila from England via Bahrain on Nov. 29 last year and then went to Cebu for some sightseeing and to meet his Filipino friends.
He returned to Manila on Dec. 17 and checked in at the Gulf Air counter for his return trip to England, but the airline staff said they could not accommodate him because his travel agent had canceled his e-ticket. Unfortunately for him he had run out of money, so he decided to stay in the terminal to figure out where he could raise the money to finance his travel back home.
Like the fictional character Viktor Navorski in the movie The Terminal, played by Tom Hanks, Austin been dependent on the kindness of the strangers handing him food.
On Dec. 20 he befriended Maria Hannah Bulabon, a janitor assigned to the departure area who then asked her co-employees to give him food and other things he might need. Departing passengers have also been giving him food or money.
Austin has requested the reporters covering the airport to write his story so people would know about his plight. He has also asked the British Embassy to help him return to England.