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The New Iloilo Airport at Cabatuan, Iloilo

News Blog about the New Iloilo Airport

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Philippines To Open NAIA-Terminal 3, Two World Class Airports

http://au.biz.yahoo.com/060918/17/w6tl.html
Monday September 18, 2006

MANILA, Sept 18 Asia Pulse - The Philippine government will open three new world-class airports, including the controversial Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 towards the end of the first quarter of 2007.

Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro R. Mendoza said that barring legal constraints and technical problems, NAIA-3 will be fully operational by March next year.

Mendoza told the weekly news forum "Kapihan ng Bayan" hosted by Secretary Cerge M. Remonde of the Government Mass Media Groulp on Monday that the two other world class airports that will start operation also during the first quarter of 2007 are Iloilo Airport in Iloilo City and the Silay Airport in Negros Occidental.

He said the government is determined to open the multi-billion pesos NAIA-3 which has been the subject of controvery for sometime now.

"I believe that with whats happening today, its all systems go. Of course, if there no more constraints coming from the court, we have the roadmap and hopefully by the end of the first quarter next year, we might be able to open the airport for commercial operations," Mendoza said.

Mendoza also said that they already received an order from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to fastrack the opening of the NAIA-3.

Aside from the legal issues, Mendoza said they are also addressing the structural foundation of the NAIA-3, apparently referring to an incident when a ceiling of the modern terminal fell.

He said the department has also to deal with three international organizations International Civil Aviation Organization, Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration to determine the structural integrity, security and safety of the airport.

The opening of the Iloilo Airport and Silay Airport will further boost tourism in the country.

"Hopefully, by the end of the first quarter next year, we are opening three major gateways to our country," Mendoza said.

MIAA General Manager Alfonso Cusi, on the other hand, said they are now preparing for the completion of the unfinished portions of the NAIA-3 which include the electro-mechnical and software systems needed to run the terminal.

The new terminal is 98 percent complete.

Cusi also said that Japanese contractor Takenaka Corp. has already agreed to repair the collapsed ceiling at the terminal-3 at their own expense.

However, Cusi, said they are evaluating and assessing the entire ceiling following the findings of the Association Structural Engineers Philippines that the cause of collapse was due to poor workmanship.

Cusi said they also asked the Takenaka to explain first the methodology of repair that the latter will undertake the repair.

The government took over the NAIA 3 late last year and operation was slated last June 21 but was put off due to some legal problems.

The legal impediment arises from a suit filed by Fraport AG, the German partner in Philippine International Air Terminals Co. (PIATCO), the Filipino-German consortium originally contracted to build and operate the terminal.

The Supreme Court and the Presidential Office nullified the PIATCO contract in 2002.

Fraport filed a US$425 million claim against the Philippine government before a Washington arbitration court in September 2003. It also sued the Philippine government for US$ 900 million.

Another suit was filed by PIATCO before arbitration court in Singapore for the Philippine government to compensate $ 525 million.

In December 2005, the Supreme Court ordered the government to pay PIATCO P3.002 billion (US$60 million) as initial payment so it could issue a writ of possession to NAIA-3.

NAIA 3 is built to handle 13 million passengers a year. Its new terminal has 140 check-in counters on five islands, nine baggage carousels and 120 immigration counters.

(PNA)

http://au.biz.yahoo.com/060918/17/w6tl.html

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