Is it September yet?

DEMAND AND SUPPLY - Boo Chanco - The Philippine Star

“One hour from Villamor to Terminal 3 entrance. It was a nightmare! I jumped out of the car as soon as the tires hit the departure platform and pushed my 30 kg suitcase and cabin luggage through the giant parking lot that was the driveway. The guards were idle and did nothing. It took my husband 50 minutes from the departure platform to exit!”

That’s my friend, Marivic, relating her horrible experience just trying to get to the departure platform of NAIA Terminal 3 last weekend. The bad part is this has been going on for quite a while now but NAIA officials are doing nothing about it. They could have assigned more security staff to direct traffic and manage the flow of vehicles to and from the terminal.

The airport police allow cars to just turn on their emergency blinkers and stay as long as they want on the curb at the arrival area. At SFO and LAX, drivers are just given a couple of minutes to pick up their passengers.

My daughter also arrived at about the same time from Los Angeles on a Korean Air flight that uses Terminal 1. It was pretty bad there too but not as bad as in Terminal 3.

If you have a flight at Terminal 3, get yourself dropped off at the air-conditioned Newport City elevated walkway to Terminal 3. It beats sitting in a car that is hardly moving and having your blood pressure rise as you worry about missing your flight.

The horror stories are daily occurrences. When friends ask me why NAIA seems to be getting worse every day, I can only reassure them that things will hopefully change for the better come September when San Miguel is supposed to take over NAIA management.

So now I get asked, is it September yet?

I have been exchanging Viber messages with Ramon Ang who, even now, is already working with NAIA management to hit the ground running when San Miguel takes over. Yes, he said, he is anxious to make sure NAIA will be ready to welcome the December holiday travel crowd. And managing vehicular traffic to and from the terminals is among the top concerns in RSA’s to-do list.

Traffic rules will be strictly enforced by San Miguel to deal with the horrible traffic jams. All passenger terminals will benefit from curbside expansion, with additional lanes operational by December 2024, RSA assures me.

“I’m sure vehicular traffic problems to Terminal 1 and 2 will be solved but traffic to Terminal 3 may take up to six months before we can finish building the new off ramp directly to its curbside for easier departure. For arrival areas, we are building a road directly to NAIAX tollgate. NAIAX traffic at the toll plaza will improve by September 1 when we implement a new seamless toll plaza at the off ramp.”

The wonder of it all is that T3 isn’t really fully utilized yet but already groaning because of inefficiency in managing the movement of vehicles outside and people inside the terminal.

Cebu Pacific, with over 80 aircraft and 180 more on order, is the largest user of T3 for both their domestic and international flights.

Indeed, anyone who has taken Cebu Pacific domestic flights knows that the area designated for passengers waiting for their flights is always full. This is why RSA wants to build another terminal for domestic flights.

Other international airlines using T3 are Singapore Airlines, United Airlines, Thai, Jetstar, Qantas, Turkish Airlines, Air Asia, Nippon Air, Cathay Pacific, China Southern, Emirates, Etihad, KLM, Gulf Air, etc.

Most of them are using wide body aircraft with hundreds of passengers.

Then there is Newport City of Resort World with a casino, convention center and hotels contributing to road traffic.

Inside the terminals, RSA told me they are already talking with equipment suppliers like China Mitsubishi to deliver spare parts to get escalators and walkalators working. “We have ordered spare parts for escalators from Mitsubishi and all should be working before the December holiday travel season.”

The air conditioning of the terminals has long been a problem so RSA said they are master planning it to have a centralized district cooling system for more reliable cooling.

Also getting attention are passenger boarding bridges that need major repairs, including the system that allows aircraft to dock with no need for people on the ground waving flags.

The baggage handling system reliability is also very poor so San Miguel will fix that too.

San Miguel will implement a QR code system for airlines check in and immigration to get passengers quicker to the departure gates.

Additionally, RSA said “We are in talks with Meralco for upgrading the power supply from 34.5kv to 230kv or at least 115kv for more stable voltage and frequency supply of power.”

So many things to do. I know it is just July but it is understandable for us to ask, is it September yet?

Steel export

In another bit of good news, Steel Asia’s export shipment of reinforcing steel bars for the Broadway subway project in Vancouver has arrived. The six shipments with total tonnage of 41,412 million tons with the value of US$ 27,324,052 conforms to Canadian Steel Grade CSA G30, 18-09 (R2019) grade 400W.

The rebars were manufactured in Steel Asia’s Calaca, Batangas facility, considered a green steel manufacturing facility.

It recycles local steel scrap into brand new rebars. Steel Asia got the Canadian order on the recommendation of the Spanish engineers who built the Cordova-Cebu City toll bridge. Steel Asia provided all the steel requirements for that project.

We may not have a big steel industry but Ben Yao, the entrepreneur behind Steel Asia, is making sure we have world class steel manufacturing facilities here.



Boo Chanco’s email address is [email protected]. Follow him on X @boochanco

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