The Philippine government pledged Wednesday to improve the country’s main airport after it was named the world’s worst following complaints of thieving staff, dirty toilets and a collapsing ceiling. The Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s Terminal 1 was given the dubious title by an online budget travel guide, www.sleepinginairports.net, based on reviews from its readers. Reacting to the ranking, Transport Secretary Manuel Roxas said the government would work harder to improve the 30-year-old facility. “The customer is always right. This will serve as a challenge to do what we have to do faster and better,” Roxas said.
“There are already plans and ongoing actions but clearly this is not enough so we will expand our efforts.” However he said there was only so much “botox” work that could be done on the old terminal. He said the ranking reinforced the need to move the main airport out of Manila to an old US airforce base two hours’ drive away, although the government has not set a timetable for this. Explaining why Manila’s airport was the world’s worst, the website cited passenger complaints of mobile phones and jewellery getting lost at the security checks.
It also alleged that shops sold tampered water bottles and passengers had to endure dirty toilets, while an incident in May when part of the ceiling collapsed further damaged the airport’s reputation. Manila airport general manager Jose Angel Honrado told ABS-CBN television his staff would accept the ranking as a challenge, but insisted some of the harshest criticism was unfair and out of date. He said toilets had been repaired while staff accused of extorting from passengers had been fired and charged in court.
It is comforting to know that there are actually worse airports than JFK and LaGuardia!