CebuPac to develop domestic terminal

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE 60-year-old Manila Domestic Airport in Pasay City will be expanded this year to accommodate the rising number of airline passengers, an airliner said yesterday.

Cebu Pacific, the Gokongwei family’s budget carrier, said it had teamed up with the Manila International Airport Authority to upgrade and expand the airport’s passenger terminal and improve its facilities.

It did not give details, but it said the project would start on Feb. 15 and should be completed on April 15.

“We have definitely outgrown the Manila domestic terminal, and we are looking forward to its expansion,” Cebu Pacific spokesman Candice Iyog said.

“We recognize how important the airport experience is to our guests, and that’s why we are happy about this joint effort with the [airport authority].”

The airport has recorded double-digit growth over the past three years, and it continues to host all domestic flights except those of Philippine Airlines and Air Philippines, which were granted exclusive rights to use the modern Terminal-2.

The airport has no jet bridges that passengers may walk through from the terminal. By comparison, the domestic and international airports in Davao, Cebu, Iloilo and Bacolod have better facilities.

Last year, the airport’s terminal accommodated about 120,000 arriving and departing passengers each week, causing long queues outside its roofed area each morning.

Iyog said the improvements would include a new arrival area with five baggage conveyors instead of the current three. That would expand the seating capacity in the pre-departure area by 66 percent with the addition of over 500 seats.

The check-in lobby and security check areas are also to be expanded. Extra boarding gates, holding areas, and restrooms will be added to double their capacity, and a covered walkway will be built to connect to the aircraft parking bays.

Cebu Pacific will relocate its cargo receiving section to pave the way for the new arrival area.

The airport authority will upgrade the arrival area, pre-departure lounge and departure areas.

The airport’s expansion is expected to benefit Cebu Pacific, which aims to carry more than seven million passengers this year and of whom 70 percent would be domestic travelers.

The airline carried more than five million passengers last year.