Sen. Recto calls support for “Need Assistance International Airport” (NAIA)

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MANILA – Senate President Pro Tempore in a press release furnished Sandigan News and Banat Pilipinas News said the problem faced by the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is not its signage, but revenues to keep it afloat so that it can pay the salaries of personnel and keep lights on in the terminal facility.  It is estimated that the lockdown due to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic has cut its 2020 revenues as much as Php 10-billion.

The press statement states “NAIA is a corporation, deriving its income from what its users pay, be they airlines or passengers.  The disappearance of these customers will severely impact its financials.”  Based on a forecast by the management of NAIA, the country’s primary air terminal would have three percent increase in passenger traffic and a gross revenue of Php 15.43-billion this year.

“But if the pandemic-imposed air travel restrictions will continue, a 60 percent cut on income will bring down its gross revenues to Php 6.05-billion, and to Php 4.53 billion if it will be a deeper 70 percent reduction,” Recto said.

According to the Corporate Operating Budget of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) for fiscal year 2020, the payroll of the NAIA costs at least Php 3.3-billion a year to include security and maintenance services.  Public utilities like water and power at the facility would cost about Php 1.5-billion for the year.

“Kung sa current income lang kukunin ang mga ito, baka kapusin (There may be a deficit if we get from the current income). It may have to dig into its reserves,” he continued.  

“This year, NAIA was expecting 21.7 million departing passengers, net of exempted individuals like the overseas Filipino workers, to pay the terminal fee. Then Covid-19 landed, turning the airport into a ghost town. Last year, it handled 277,530 incoming and outgoing flights, but because of the pandemic, the airport has become a quieter place.  No commercial flights, no fees,” he said.

Recto said it is up to the government’s transportation managers to guide NAIA through the downturn. “Tingin ko kaya pa naman.  Pero kung walang full resumption of its operation, then it will have to change its call sign to “Need Assistance International Airport,” he finally said.

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