Thursday, 7 August 2008

Much Or Do About Flying

Yes, you read the title correctly. I'm practicing my Filipino! And pretty much the way the English language was massacred in that title is the way aviation has been with the opening of the "new" Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.

For far too long the air traveler coming or going through Manila has suffered the dilapidated international and even worse domestic terminal. Those facilities compounded with the squatter settlements just outside are the first impressions for weary travelers to the Philippines.

The new terminal was constructed several years ago but remained vacant and unopened while lawsuits regarding its construction were dealt with. A few weeks ago Cebu Pacific Air was able to open in the new building. Not much else is there. Luggage carousels are still being installed. Food and beverage vendors operate out of makeshift temporary kiosks. And I believe the air conditioning is set to a bone-chilling 60 degrees Fahrenheit, if it's that high. Let's just say I've been warmer strolling the frozen food aisles of US grocery stores...even with the compartment doors open.

Adding to the growing pains is the lack of systems and procedures to operate the new terminal, resulting in incoming flights being delayed on the ground because planes are waiting for gates for disembarkation. Mind you, there are plenty of available gates, just nobody knowing what to do when they see an incoming plane. It is a big headache for Cebu Pacific, as they (and their passengers) are the guinea pig in this trial opening period.

Edson and I were among these last week. We were off to Boracay with his officemates. We were fortunate in our flight being only an hour late for departure.

Of course, what you really want are some pictures:
The new terminal.
Yes, we flew a turbo-prop! The airport off Boracay in Caticlan has a very short runway and cannot accommodate larger aircraft.
After a tricycle ride from the airport, we took the jetty to the island of Boracay.

Shortly after check-in at our hotel we went to eat. It is rainy season in the Philippines; and a bit of rain and wind greeted us as we were searching for a restaurant.

More on our Boracay adventure to come.

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