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New terminal 3 Manila airport

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1. Posted by bwiiian (Travel Guru, 768 posts) 5 Aug '08 05:36

bwiiian has indicated that this thread is about Philippines

I am flying into and out of the new terminal 3 at Manila and I cannot find anything out about it on the web, so has anyone been there yet and is it better than the other terminals at Manila? I have been to the other 2 terminals at Manila and I am really hoping that the new one is better!!

2. Posted by pau_p1 (Respected Member, 214 posts) 5 Aug '08 17:57

the new terminal... NAIA Terminal 3 (NAIA 3) is a larger and more modern airport which has 28 gates... it is designed to accommodate about 13 Million passengers a year compared to the old terminal (NAIA1)... it has many check-in terminals and about double or triple the number of NAIA1's immigration gates which is a common bottleneck...

the terminal was originally slated for opening back in 2002 but did not push through due to cancellation of the contract of the proponent and since then it has been mothballed due to the legal battles that it has been on... as of today the Philippine government has already got the rights to use it after paying it's contractor for some millions of pesos.. two years ago it also faced some structural checks and reconstruction after a ceiling fell down... As of today it is about 98% complete and about half of the terminal is operational for 3 airlines...

Cebu Pacific initially used the terminal in the last week of July for some of its domestic routes, then followed by PAL Express and Air Philippines... Last August 2, Cebu Pacific moved all its flights, domestic and international to T3...

The Philippine Government is pushing for its grand opening by early 2009 for all international carriers.... Once all international carriers from T1 are moved to T3, the domestic flights in T3 along with the domestic flights in the domestic airport will be moved to Terminal 2 which was originally designed as a domestic airport, until Philippine Airlines used it exclusively.. T1 may then be torn down or be converted, same may be the fate of the domestic airport..

I have not personally entered the new terminal, but I've seen videos and pictures of it and it is way larger and modern than the old terminal.. something that Manila badly needed... Currently, since it is fairly new, it not yet fully operational.. I think they're still doing manual immigration check, temporarily as they procure a machine reader... the other day Cebu Pacific encountered some technical problems plus the bad weather conditions where some flights were cancelled or delayed.. but today they're back to normal....

I'm sure you'll enjoy this new terminal... I will by October when we fly out from here to Hong KOng... :D

you can check this youtube file...
or from this thread in skyscrapercity where I'm also posting...

[ Edit: Edited on Aug 5, 2008, at 5:59 PM by pau_p1 ]

3. Posted by loubylou (Travel Guru, 664 posts) 6 Aug '08 05:40

Yes, the new Terminal 3 is bigger and newer than the other terminals but there are still problems with it. We flew in there yesterday...here's our experience (all not necessarily problems, but how things differ to the other terminals).

Although there were air bridges all passengers had to use stairs to get off the plane and because it was raining the stairs were very slippery, a lot of people were almost falling down the stairs - very dangerous. The air con in the terminal is far too cold (ie sweaters were needed)...it was like a fridge. The building inside is very grey and dull, (with huge pictures of Gloria everywhere!) but there is a lot more room at the baggage claim than the previous domestic terminal. Baggage claim was very slow also considering there was only one flight (ours!) that had landed.

My boyfriend went to the toilets and there was only one urinal in each of the men's toilets causing quite a big queue! I can't comment on immigration as it was a domestic flight but there seemed to be a lot of desks, whether there is enough staff to man these desks is another question.

On exiting the airport there is a bank and ATM but that's about it. When looking for transport away from the terminal it's a bit of a nightmare. There are 2 official taxi services - one is the yellow taxi service like at the other international terminals which is 70 peso 'flag fall' and a coupon taxi service which wanted to charge 330 pesos for a 60 pesos ride. We refused to pay and walked across the car park and up some stairs where there were a load of vulture like taxi driver waiting. Half of these wanted to charge a stupid fixed rate fare, we had to try 7 drivers until one would agree to use the proper metre! So our time from landing to finding a taxi was approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes...a very long time! To be honest it was a bit of a headache getting a taxi and was very infuriating.

Hope this helps

4. Posted by bwiiian (Travel Guru, 768 posts) 6 Aug '08 07:30

I have a 5 hour wait there from midnight til 5am, then on my way back I have a 6 hour wait from 11am til 5pm. Should I stay in the airport (I probably will for the 5 hour wait) or should I go into manila for a couple of hours, or is there anything right next to the terminal like a bar? I know there is a big shopping mall not far from it but I would rather find a cafe or bar to sit in while I wait for my connecting flight. Is there anything before check-in? Last time I was in the old terminal there was just 1 little stall selling coffee. I looked on youtube at the film of the airport and it does look a lot nicer with shops and restaurants etc but I couldn't tell whether they are all after check-in or before or both.

Pau_p1, when are you flying to HK? I am flying Manila to HK on 30 September.

5. Posted by Swept Away (Travel Guru, 1113 posts) 6 Aug '08 19:31

DO PEOPLE REALLY CARE ABOUT THIS?

This airport was closed for a century because it is one of the most corrupt projects in the history of human civilization. That makes this airport worth visiting.

6. Posted by pau_p1 (Respected Member, 214 posts) 6 Aug '08 19:49

I'm flying there by October 23rd...and i hope they get all the glitches fixed by then...

well.. hopefully by your flight, the aerobridges are operational... they were not allowed to use the bridges when one of the bridges had a failure a few days prior the opening that why passengers had to walk to the planes... @loubylou.. I can imagine the hassle it brought you.. I hope the bridges gets fixed this month.. hehehe...

I think from the other pictures that I've seen.. there are some shops already at the departure floor.. I saw a Pizza Hut and a Delifrance there... around the airport is an Air Force Base... there is an Airport Museum nearby... but bars.. none... the area is still being developed so everything there is still under construction... the nearest mall from the terminal is the Mall of Asia which is about 30minutes from the terminal... so it may be good to try it.. unless your there in the wee hours of the night... though hopefully by september more taxis are familiar with the area... as of now it being new.. there's not too much traffic going there... hopefully by then there are more shops that will open there too... I don't think the Duty Free is open there yet...

well I guess it's common for a new terminal to have problems in the early stages.. Heathrow's terminal 5? had major problems when it opened where it stranded a number of passengers... Thailand's big airport which was also in a corruption battle before being opened had operational issues in its early operations...

[ Edit: Edited on Aug 6, 2008, at 7:55 PM by pau_p1 ]

7. Posted by bwiiian (Travel Guru, 768 posts) 7 Aug '08 03:48

Quoting Swept Away

DO PEOPLE REALLY CARE ABOUT THIS?

This airport was closed for a century because it is one of the most corrupt projects in the history of human civilization. That makes this airport worth visiting.

Not sure I understand what you mean by that. Do people care about what an airport is like if you have a 6 hour wait? I think the answer is YES. Do people care about corruption? Answer again is YES. I know you don't have many good things to say about the Philippines (well, at least Manila), but to say that we shouldn't care about your main airport for some reason doesn't make sense. Surely we should care MORE if there is corruption, which, I think everyone agrees, is going on in the Philippines specifically regarding this new terminal. You should be shouting from the rooftops about it, not trying to hide it under the carpet. I love the Philippines (although I never go to Manila so I can't speak for that) and I know there is corruption, but the question is what can be done about it?

8. Posted by Trains (First Time Poster, 1 posts) 11 Oct '08 04:38

I have used it (once to Cebu on Cebu Pacific, once back from Palawan on the same airline) twice in the past two weeks.

Dropoff is easy: taxis stop right outside the door.

Checkin was spacious. I had about a 15 minute wait: there was one line for all domestic flights, and about 12 staff at the counters. It was similar for international flights.

There are three, inadequate, kiosks upstairs before you go through to departures. There is a tiny Jolibee, a tiny Mister Donut and another stall. Jolibee has a few high tables at which you can stand: there is some general seating, but not enough.

Permanent shops are not open due I suspect to matters regarding final payment not having been resolved (typical of the Phils).

I did not find aircon. too cold but then I come from Melbourne, the more temperate part of Australia.

Once airside, guests are prohibited (even for domestic flights). There are about three food stalls: GoNuts (doughnut stall) and two others, including a sit down cafe (perhaps 20 seats).

There is plenty of seating while waiting at the gate lounges, and there are some monitors showing flight departures (not many, but they are bright and colourful).

Aerobridges are now in use for those sitting in the first 15 or so rows of (say) an A320: like in Australia at Melbourne or Sydney, those sitting at the rear can walk across the tarmac.

The airport shows other signs of incompleteness: there are some vacant spaces, but nonetheless it is a huge improvement on Manila's old ramshackle Domestic Airport.

Coming back from Palawan, my luggage took 30 minutes to arrive. The belts work well.

Instead of getting an airport taxi (yellow: P70 flagfall and efficient) or the older ripoff airport taxis (fixed rate), I walked across to the street and caught a 'normal' taxi as I was going 60 kilometres.

However the yellow and red airport taxis are fantastic: drivers are reliable, and uniformed.

Anyone with preconceived notions about the Phils. should note that Terminal 3 is a pleasant introduction, particularly if you enter Phils. via Cebu and then travel on a domestic flight to T3 at Manila.

By the way, Cebu Pacific's timekeeping was (as I have found previously) better than Australia's QANTAS (not that this would be hard hahaha LOL). Cebu Pacific's A319s and A320s are only two to three years old and the airline (despite some criticism from Filipinos) seems pretty reliable though I am sure its punctuality is imperfect.

9. Posted by wershwie (Budding Member, 64 posts) 13 Oct '08 10:55

I got to fly out and then back in through Terminal 3 last month. This one's definitely bigger, but since there are only 2 airlines operating, it's not that easy to navigate from one step to the next. Counter lines are interestingly similar to Singapore or Bangkok where everyone goes through one queue, and then you get assigned to the next available counter once you get your turn. It's still clean, including the toilets, which I found seriously wonderful ;P

There are a few eating areas, as mentioned above. I was there for a very early flight, so I would imagine things would get a bit crowded later on in the day. The boarding gates are comfortable enough since they're still new. Arrivals are more interesting, though. Conveyer belts are fine. They don't check your claim stubs anymore, like in other countries.

It's true that you can get a "normal" metered taxi on a queue outside the terminal. Just keep walking towards the big church and you'll see the line on the main street. Otherwise, the buses and airport taxis are just there, waiting for you :)

Have a safe trip!

10. Posted by bwiiian (Travel Guru, 768 posts) 14 Oct '08 03:39

I have done the trip now through Manila airport and I must say that it does seem potentially to be a million times better than the older terminals at Manila. However, not all of it is built so there are no shops or bars or restaurants, even though when you arrive there are big posters saying to visit the great shopping areas of Manila airport!!!! But I asked about this and the staff said that they are expecting all the work to be finished by the end of the year. I will be back there in March so hopefully it will be fully functioning then, as 6 hours with just a Jollibee counter for company is not really very exciting!