MNL May No Longer Be World’s Worst Airport, But Future Looks Bleak
MNL has frequently been cited as the ‘Worst Airport in the World.’
Rehabilitation efforts have helped MNL shed that dubious distinction of late, but there are more problems ahead.
As the Nikkei Asian Review reports, delays have become the norm at the overburdened international airport. It was built to handle an annual 30 million pax, but it served about 36.7 million in 2015. The overcrowding is leading frustrated carriers to consider shifting focus to other Philippine airports, but there aren’t easy options..
Flights rarely stay on schedule these days at the main gateway to the Philippines. Planes sometimes take more than an hour to get from the boarding gate to the runway and many must wait in the air to land.
Expanding the facility, near the heart of Manila, is not a viable option. A new airport is sorely needed, but the government has been accused of inaction. Observers say that if pax traffic continues growing at the current pace, conditions may come to a head in just a few years.
Frustrated by the situation, Philippine Airlines President Jaime Bautista says he is considering moving some flights to Clark International Airport, at the site of a former U.S. air base north of Manila. But even though that facility is less than 100 km from Manila, getting there takes 2 to 3 hours and there is no rail service.
At this point, MNL remains a big problem with no impending solution.