NAIA-3 opens

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — TERMINAL-3 of Manila’s international airport opens today, after lying idle for almost six years, and budget carrier Cebu Pacific will be the first to use it for its inaugural flight to Caticlan.

The airline is using a turboprop jet with 56 passengers on board to take off at 5:10 a.m. from the terminal, which had been plagued by a court case involving the government and its builder, Philippine International Air Terminals Corp., and questions on its safety.

Terminal-3 thus finally joins Terminal-1, which is used by all international carriers, and the Centennial Airport, which was built by businessman Lucio Tan for the exclusive use of Philippine Airlines, and later Air Philippines, which he had bought from businessman William Gatchalian.

The terminal will be served by a shuttle service using a van, which leaves every 15 minutes. It will also be served by taxis and jeepneys covering all terminals in a loop.

Cebu Pacific will provide free coffee and snacks to its passengers at the terminal, which is yet to be served by food outlets.

Alfonso Cusi, general manager of the Manila International Airport Authority, said they would be installing vending machines for passengers starting today while waiting to sign contracts with food outlets.

He said he expected the terminal to have food outlets operating as early as next week once it signed deals with applicants including Figaro, Starbucks, Delifrance and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Cebu Pacific said it would also use Terminal-3 to fly to San Jose in Mindoro, Naga and Tuguegarao starting today.

“That would be an average of 1,000 departing and arriving passengers daily, spokesman Candice Iyog said.

She said Cebu Pacific would move its entire domestic operations to Terminal-3 from the Domestic Airport in the next few months if operations went smoothly.

The carrier has no contract yet to use Terminal-3, but the international airport’s corporate affairs manager, Tirso Serrano, said it would be operating flights daily for six months to a year.

A similar arrangement was being finalized with flag carrier Philippine Airlines and its budget carrier PAL Express, he said.