MANILA, Philippines – Airport authorities disclosed that the 28-year-old Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 (NAIA-1) would be renovated in August after an architectural and engineering firm was picked to conduct an assessment of the project.
Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Jose Honrado said P-Square, an engineering and consulting firm, was selected to start the month-long study worth about P9.4 million.
He said the firm would conduct various tests to know the load-bearing capacity of the building before any improvement could be done, as well as do an analysis to determine which part of the building is already unsafe.
NAIA-1 is being refurbished to keep up with the demand as it has already exceeded its capacity of 10 million passengers a year several years ago.
Most of the estimated 28 foreign airlines that operate at the NAIA-1 had expressed their intention to stay at the old terminal and almost all are reluctant to transfer to the NAIA Terminal 3 until all legal problems are settled.
Cebu Pacific, AirphilExpress and All Nippon Airways are the three airlines operating at the NAIA-3.
Although the planned structural tests had been announced earlier this year, the process was fast-tracked after the styrofoam insulation of the ceiling on the ground level, as well as some plaster concrete pieces from the façade, fell off last May. These were attributed to deterioration due to fatigue or effects of previous earthquakes.
Structural tests would start in August and are expected to be completed in January 2012.
The MIAA would later announce a bidding to determine which architectural firm would conduct the renovation of NAIA-1.
“We want the public to know that the MIAA is upgrading not only the toilets, water supply and carpeting, but is also determined to upgrade the NAIA-1 to international standard,” said airport senior assistant general manager Antonio Bautista.
He pointed out that the NAIA-1 arrival area has been completely refurbished, with its walls and ceiling sporting a new look after these were clad with a metal finish to cover the old style “washout.”
Bautista added the Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines is assisting the MIAA to come up with a new NAIA-1 that would be attuned to the needs of travelers.
The project would cost about P500 million or more.
“The MIAA has the money to fund the airport’s renovation,” he said, adding that the board of directors would have the final say with the concurrence of Honrado.
Critics of the old terminal have pointed out that nearby airports look modern because of their glass and steel facade, which gives them an airy, spacious and traveler-friendly look with amenities for sleeping.
On the other hand, NAIA-1 looks stodgy and cramped and still sports the washout finish fashionable in the 1980s.
This is the grayish brown color that people see when they look at NAIA-1’s façade since its builders covered the concrete with washout brown pebbles during construction.
Bautista said that architects would surely keep that in mind when remodeling NAIA-1 and would probably wrap the premier airport in gleaming faux stainless steel or similar-looking material to make it look modern and tasteful.
“We will spare no expense to give the NAIA-1 a modern look that Filipinos could be proud of and make it user friendly with various amenities for the satisfaction of users,” Bautista added.