Rise in flights, passenger volume cause long queues at NAIA

By Ma. Cristina Arayata

August 16, 2023, 9:55 pm

<p><em>(File photo) </em></p>

(File photo) 

MANILA – As the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) was recently tagged as among the worst airports in Asia in terms of queuing times, an executive of the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) commented that the long queues could be attributed to the rise in passenger volume and flights.

"NAIA is basically the primary gateway," OTS spokesperson Kim Marquez said Wednesday, adding that the long queues could be due to the surge in passengers given that the country is back to normalcy and there has been an increase in the number of flights.

Marquez clarified that the situation could vary in other Philippine international airports, as this would depend on the number of flights and the capacity in other gateways.

Vacation rental firm Casago recently released a study, ranking NAIA as 8th of 10 worst airports, with only 18.11 percent of passengers approving the airport's queuing times. Singapore Changi Airport, on the other hand, was ranked world's best and Asia's best, with 74.50 percent approval rating based on passenger reviews.

Casago analyzed the passenger reviews from airlinequality.com, where queuing times were rated between 1 to 5 stars.

Marquez said a passenger is screened at checkpoints for an average of 1.5 to 3 minutes.

"That's the average. A passenger can be (screened) for about 1.5 minutes or faster if he or she is not carrying any prohibited item," she said.

Marquez added that the OTS' screening procedures are aligned with the International Civil Aviation Organization.

"We can say that (these are) the same procedures implemented by other member states around the world," she emphasized.

The Manila International Airport Authority, meanwhile, did not comment on the matter.

It can be recalled that in December 2022, the management gradually removed the initial screening process across the four terminals to mitigate the long queues at the airport.

Further growth in international travel

Low-cost carriers Cebu Pacific (CEB) and AirAsia Philippines are both expecting further rise in international travel due to lifting of vaccination certificate requirements for international arrivals.

"This will further encourage travelers from all over the world to visit the Philippines," said CEB in a statement.

AirAsia said the scrapping of such requirement will make traveling more seamless, and is very timely for the upcoming peak season in the country. (PNA)