A new and improved NAIA Airport in this lifetime?

Please send some good vibes for the Philippines. It seems, after years and years of neglect, our aging airport, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport is now finally getting a much-needed face lift. If the hype is to be believed, the airport should be good and ready by 2015. Gods be good, we are getting a new airport in this lifetime!

From Yahoo Philippines:

Finally, NAIA Terminal I getting much-needed facelift

Manila’s oldest airport terminal is getting a much-needed facelift. This, through the help of renowned Filipino interior designer Kenneth Cobonpue and architectural firm Leandro V. Locsin and Associates, who will lead the makeover of “the world’s worst airport.”

In a press conference, Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda confirmed the rehabilitation of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 will soon proceed. “The Cobonpue Group will be allowed to do the interiors of NAIA 1 building with Architect (Andy) Locson handling the architectural services,” Lacierda said.

“For the greeter’s area, it will still be Architect Locsin doing the conceptual design and the architect of record. The Cobonpue Group will help out in the interiors,” he clarified. The best thing about this? Well, Cobonpue, designer Budji Layug, and architect Royal Pineda are doing this for free, following their submission of the pro-bono concept on NAIA Terminal rehabilitation after several Cabinet secretaries asked for their help in 2011.

“The Cobonpue Group has offered their services pro bono and we thank them for that,” Lacierda noted.
Cobonpue is an internationally-renowned designer and has clients such as Angelina Jolie, among others.
Locsin is meanwhile the son of National Artist for Architecture Leandro Locsin, whose masterpieces include the Cultural Center of the Philippines and several notable buildings at the University of the Philippines campuses.

In 2011, the government awarded the contract of rehabilitation program to Leandro V. Locsin and Associates, which originally designed NAIA Terminal 1. The design of Cobonpue’s group, which included an overhaul of interiors to enable faster flow of travelers between security and departure, was however shelved.

Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya announced they will focus on the renovation of NAIA Terminal 1’s greeters’ area. Cobonpue doubts the P2.8 billion-rehabilitation project will be done in time for the 27th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), which will be held in Manila in 2015. The summit is expected to gather about 24,000 participants from over 21 APEC-member economies.

Let’s hope things will go according to plan because God knows we need a new airport. We’ve been voted the worst airport in the world – a feat that we think we truly deserved considering how awful the airport was. I have previously written before the unspeakable horrors we’ve experienced stuck there at the NAIA I Greeters area and truth be told, it was one of the rare moments where we wanted to kill ourselves rather than remain stuck in that God-forsaken area.

Along with the changes in the airport, we really wish that the management will also be improved. Because sad as this may sound, eve if we have the nicest airport in the world, if it is run by incompetent people then the changes will only be temporary. A world-class airport needs world class management. Rather than hiring typical career government officials, we think that a person with F&B and hotel experience is the best person suited for the job.To put it bluntly, we need someone who thinks how travelers think — someone who can anticipate travelers’ needs and offer long-term solutions, not just band aid solutions.

For now, I wait with bated breath (and lots of positive vibes) how this story will progress. Hopefully, our leaders will finally walk the talk. The Filipino people deserved a good airport, the same way that our guests from foreign countries deserved a safe and comfortable transit to and from the Philippines.

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