The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) on Saturday said it is bracing for an influx in passenger traffic in the four terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in the coming Holy Week.
In a statement, the MIAA said it activated the “OPLAN Biyaheng Ayos: Semana Santa 2023” as it anticipates 1.2 million passengers to flock the country’s main gateway, beginning April 1 until April 10.
MIAA General Manager Cesar Chiong said that with the upcoming holidays lasting until the Day of Valor on April 10 and border restrictions lifted globally since the COVID-19 pandemic, passenger traffic could reach 140,000 on a single day.
MIAA said they are prepared for the influx of passengers during the Holy Week.
"We had around 126,000 passengers po yesterday. We expect naman po talaga [na] tuloy-tuloy ang pagdagsa ng ating mga biyahero both arriving and departing," MIAA Senior Assistant General Manager Bryan Co said in Katrina Son’s "24 Oras Weekend" report on Saturday.
MIAA said they expect the peak of the passenger influx to be on Wednesday, April 5, but there won't be any significant flight delays.
Chiong said that MIAA has ensured sufficient manpower and equipment for the influx, as well as the availability of critical airport utilities, such as electricity, water, air conditioning, and communications; amenities and “malasakit” kits for passengers in the event of flight disruptions; and assistance desks in all four terminals to address the riding public's concerns.
“We’re prepared. We are doing all of these initiatives in order to give our riding public a seamless travel experience here at NAIA, especially since this is the first time that we’ll have quite a long Semana Santa after 2019,” the MIAA chief said.
Co said the NAIA operator is also cooperating with other government agencies in addressing the traveling public’s concerns during the holidays.
“One of the critical things we’re doing is talking to our government partners because it’s not just MIAA; there are more than 20 different government agencies working with us. Among the most important right now, which we see as a critical battleground in terms of managing the queues and the experience, is (the Bureau of) Immigration (BI), as well as our final security points under the Office for Transportation Security (OTS),” Co said.
Co also said that the BI has committed to bolstering their manpower at the NAIA terminals during Holy Week, with 63 immigration officers temporarily coming in from the main office and other ports. MIAA also met with BI's terminal supervisors to ensure that their immigration counters are fully staffed before the surge.
Likewise, OTS will deploy an additional 50 personnel to serve as baggage feeders and passenger controllers.
Starting April 1, around 100 OTS personnel will be re-deployed to passenger screening points as MIAA takes over non-passenger inspection areas around the airport complex, according to MIAA.
Airlines, meanwhile, were reminded to strictly adhere to the Air Passenger Bill of Rights and extend “malasakit” to the riding public, deploy enough “sweepers” to locate passengers requiring prioritization in immigration queues, open their check-in counters earlier when possible, and close them on time, the NAIA operator said.
Law enforcement agencies are on board to ensure safe, secure, and orderly operations, along with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the local government units of Pasay City and Parañaque City, which will help facilitate the smooth flow of traffic around the NAIA complex, it said.
MIAA said that to service the increased demand for land transportation at NAIA, it has urged its transport concessionaires to ensure maximum deployment of units, especially during peak hours of arrivals, and Point-to-Point (P2P) operators to deploy more buses plying the NAIA route.
In addition, the airport operator said it allows metered white taxis, while MIAA and Grab’s “Airport to Anywhere” program deploys a dedicated fleet of Grab-accredited vehicles with fixed pricing and no surge charges.
To avoid possible delays, passengers are advised to check-in online, arrive at the airport on time—at least three hours before departure for international flights and two hours for domestic flights—and go straight to the pre-departure area immediately after checking in.
In order to expedite processing at the Bureau of Quarantine (BoQ) and BI counters, international inbound travelers to the Philippines are reminded to complete the eTravel registration online prior to arrival. Philippine passport holders are encouraged to use the immigration e-gates upon arrival. —with Richa Noriega/KG/VBL, GMA Integrated News