MIAA vows to address long immigration queues at NAIA

By Ma. Cristina Arayata

March 3, 2023, 5:09 pm

<p>(<em>PNA file photo by Cristina Arayata</em>)</p>

(PNA file photo by Cristina Arayata)

MANILA – The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) on Friday vowed to address long immigration lines at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 by implementing some measures.

Aside from close coordination with the Bureau of Immigration (BI), the MIAA said immigration counters will be increased, the use of electronic gates (e-gates) will be advocated, and airlines were requested to open their check-in counters earlier.

“MIAA is looking for ways to alleviate the issue as much as we can. In the meantime, we ask for the public's understanding as the measures are put into place," General Manager Cesar Chiong said in a statement.

The MIAA acknowledged the various complaints concerning missed flights caused by the long immigration queues, and said the BI has committed to increase its manpower.

Some netizens have been sharing on social media their frustrations about being offloaded because they had to queue at immigration counters for almost two hours or more.

Last Jan. 4, at least 28 passengers of a local airline were unable to board their flight to Hong Kong due to long queues at the airport. The airline provided them with options such as free rebooking, full refund or travel fund.

Chiong said the processing time is critical. "If we can increase the processing rate of our immigration channels for each passenger, they should not have to wait too long even if the queue grows," he said.

According to MIAA, NAIA Terminal 3 now has 29 immigration counters.

It added that the installation of new e-gates will be advocated to augment the immigration processing time. Using an e-gate, a passenger needs about 12 to 15 seconds to scan the passport, have biometrics and undergo facial capturing.

The MIAA plans to make more room for immigration counters at Terminal 3 by mid-2023.

Making the NAIA Terminal 2 an all-domestic terminal, on the other hand, is also in the pipeline to help ease the congestion.

Chiong said the management welcomes the feedback of passengers, and also encourages them to go to immigration counters, undergo final security check, and proceed to the pre-departure area immediately after checking in. (PNA)