From luggage to restrooms: DOTr chief Bautista bares problems at NAIA

Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista inspects the Terminal 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Aug. 2, 2022. Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista on Tuesday gave the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) a laundry list of concerns about the overall passenger experience at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Bautista zeroed in on NAIA Terminal 2, which houses Philippine Airlines, where he served as president and chief operating officer.

LUGGAGE CONCERNS

He said he had to sort out a passenger’s concern about the delayed release of luggage on Monday.

Bautista said he returned to Terminal 2 after receiving text messages complaining that the terminal was overcrowded with irate travelers waiting for their bags at the conveyor belt.

“Pumunta ako sa arrival and I saw many people complaining kasi medyo mabagal iyong paglabas ng bagahe kasi nagkasabay-sabay iyong flights… Sabi ko sa service providers kahit hindi n’yo trabaho iyon, tumulong na kayo sa baggage handling para bumilis ang paglabas ng bagahe,” he said.

Philippine Airlines issued an apology Tuesday morning to passengers affected by the delayed release of their bags. The airline said their third service provider was having workforce issues. 

The baggage concern was resolved minutes after Bautista reportedly asked other personnel to lend a hand to the baggage handlers to fast-track the baggage release. 

The service providers explained to Bautista that they were undermanned that day as some of them were called for job interviews by foreign airlines. 

PAL also noted that the lack of manpower is a global aviation concern.

COMFORT ROOMS

The transport chief also underscored concerns in NAIA’s comfort rooms, noting that it was among the issues the previous Duterte administration addressed in its early years.

While the airport’s comfort rooms are clean, Bautista said they lack amenities. 

When Bautista visited Terminal 2, Pasay and Parañaque cities were also experiencing a 24-hour water service interruption due to an emergency leak repair on Roxas Boulevard and Opena Street in Pasay.

video of green water coming out of the NAIA T2 faucets went viral on Twitter. 

“During that time walang tubig ang buong Pasay City so ang ginagawa ng NAIA, nag-iigib sila,” Bautista said.

SECURITY MEASURES

Meanwhile, NAIA will undergo an assessment of its transport security this month. 

Bautista also told the airport’s security group to study how to streamline but maintain a high level of protection in the screening process of passengers.

“I talked to the passengers. Talagang they don’t want the screening procedures being implemented at the airport but because it is in compliance with the requirements of TSA in the US, iyong screening doble-doble talaga. Sabi ko sa security ng airport, let’s do something about it.”

Aside from these concerns, Bautista listed inadequate lighting, unreliable free internet connection, and tight space for flights and passengers.

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