LIST: NAIA preparations for Undas 2019

MANILA, Philippines – People flying home to their provinces or going on vacations abroad during Undas 2019 can expect more efficient operations at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), which is implementing Oplan Biyaheng Ayos to prepare for the larger influx of travelers.

In a statement released on Tuesday, October 22, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal outlined several measures for both passengers and airlines to adhere to, in order to ensure more convenient and safer flights.

Help desks: Oplan desks will be jointly manned by members of MIAA Operations and Public Affairs, police, and medical teams in all NAIA Terminals. Malasakit help desks will also be stationed to address inquiries related to airport and airline operations, as well as the rights of passengers. They will be manned by the MIAA and the Civil Aeronautics Board.

For passengers: The MIAA along with its partner airlines urged passengers to arrive at NAIA 3 hours prior to international flights and 2 hours before domestic flights.

Airlines are allowed to impose a longer lead time for departure to give way for added security measures conducted for check-ins, specially for those taking direct flights to America and Australia.

Opening and closing counters: Airlines were also instructed to close other counters once the number of passengers who haven't checked in goes down to only 3-5, to allow the next company to use it. Monreal also encouraged airline to open counters earlier than the standard occupancy schedule of 3 hours before departure time.

"As compared to processing your passengers altogether when you open at the appointed time, we can somehow ease the queuing situation at the immigration if you are able to process passengers who are already there waiting ahead of 3 hours," Monreal said.

Check-in counters for luggage: Monreal also recommended speeding up check-ins by processing passengers with luggage at the check-in counters instead of the kiosks.

Bus gates: Monreal told domestic carriers using Terminal 3 to monitor the availablity of bus gates so passengers can be directed where to go.

Paging announcements: Monreal reminded handling agents to limit paging announucements to only 3 per flight. 

"Let us be considerate of passengers. Too many announcements and announcing with a loud and garbled voice are both irritating," Monreal said.

Flight operations: Airlines were urged to ensure their aircraft was healthy for a smooth aircraft rotation, and to handle problems related to crew flying hours ahead of time. The airlines are asked to follow the 5-minute rule, which prohibits airlines from asking for start-up clearance before they are ready for takeoff.

Monreal warned airlines that non-adherence and constant disregard of the 5-minute rule will be a factor in slot deliberations for the next season. 

Improved airline services: Airlines also carry the burden of improving their services for passengers. For its part, Cebu Pacific will provide passenger identification devices to security personnel manning immigration entrances, given that they have the most number of passengers using Terminal 3.

The device will speed up the identification process by capturing the bar code in the passenger's boarding pass. 

Airlines also agreed to provide a directory to the MIAA so that airline-related passenger concerns can be immediately attended to.

In the spirit of partnership, Monreal encouraged the airlines to report any MIAA employee who will seek favors or deliberately delay services to them.

Transportation agencies and stakeholders are gearing up for the thousands that travel across the country and even across the world during Undas, implementing intensified safety and security procedures and opening new roads. (READ: Undas travel tips for drivers and commuters)  – 

Loreben Tuquero

Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.