The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is finally out of the worst airports list, according to results of the latest survey of travel website sleepinginairports.net.
In a survey released on Sunday in "The Guide To Sleeping In Airports," the country's premier gateway is no longer included in the top 20 worst airports in the world and in the top 5 worst airports in Asia this year.
To recall, NAIA landed on the 5th spot among the world’s worst airports in the same survey conducted in 2016.
The NAIA's inclusion in the said list last year was attributed to the issue of “laglag-bala” or airport personnel's alleged planting of bullets in luggage so they can extort money from travelers, especially by OFWs.
The issue, however, was addressed during the first 100 days of the Duterte administration.
In a statement on Wednesday, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade welcomed this improvement, but said that this was just the beginning.
Tugade reminded that the DOTr must not be complacent as there are still others things that have to be done and improved at the NAIA.
"Work, work, work lang. While it is good that we are not listed among the worst, let us work even harder to be included amongst the best," Tugade said.
"We should be careful that we do not backslide. The show must go on — and better!" the Transportation chief said.
This was echoed by Manila International Airports Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal.
"The bigger challenge is to maintain or even surpass our achievement," Monreal said.
From 2011 to 2013, NAIA was hailed as the "world’s worst airport."
In 2014, it landed in 4th place.
In 2015, it was not included in the top 10 worst airports in the world but named as the 8th worst airport in Asia.
4 PHL airports among Asia's best
Meanwhile, four Philippine airports again joined the list of the top 25 best airports in Asia for 2017.
These are the Iloilo International Airport, Mactan-Cebu International Airport, Clark International Airport, and Davao International Airport.
The DOTr cited the reforms implemented in the NAIA, including the restriction on general aviation to prioritize commercial flights and reduce flight delays; the imposition of the five-minute rule where pilots who declare they are ready to take off must depart within the prescribed time or would be put back in queue to reduce flight delays and instill discipline among airlines; the construction of Rapid Exit Taxiways to allow an aircraft to leave the runway at higher speed and increase flight movements; and the provision of cleaner toilets additional seats, free Wi-Fi, and Well-Wishers’ Area.
Regular taxis were also allowed to queue and pick-up passengers at designated points at NAIA terminals to address the shortage of taxi units servicing passengers.
"Further, since the new administration took over, there has been no single incidence of a passenger missing a flight for possessing a bullet," the DOTr said.
"Passengers no longer feel the need to wrap bags and luggages in plastic or masking tapes," it added. — MDM, GMA News