I saw a piece of news over this past weekend that was rather shocking to me.
Apparently, a website called the Guide to Sleeping in Airports did a survey recently. In this survey, Manila’s International Airport, NAIA or Ninoy Aquino International Airport, was ranked as the 5th worst airport in the world. Honestly, I am surprised that out of major airports, it ranked that well. Other airports that I thought would have ranked much better actually beat out NAIA for being worse.
The worst airports in the world, according to readers of this site were:
- Paris CDG
- Paris Beauvais
- Moscow SVO
- Los Angeles
- Manila NAIA
- New Delhi
- Chicago O’Hare
- London Luton
- New York JFK
Now, let’s concentrate in on Manila NAIA, since this site is about the Philippines. Here are some of the featured comments about NAIA:
“It has to be experienced to be believed. Think of a bombed out ruin and you’ll get some idea. It’s like a cattle yard only worse. Toilets filthy. No seating once you get thru customs (maybe 40 seats for a thousand passengers).” – Brenty
“Bribery and corruption in this airport is rife and the scams start the minute you walk off the plane” – Mecanix
“The transfer desk is a joke, everything is designed around you exiting thru customs, so you have to pay the airport user fee (bribe) to catch a connecting flight. I travel to Asia for my job and took the routing thru Manila due to a last minute booking to save some money, big mistake……” – PaulJ
So, as I said, I saw a news article the other day that lead me to this survey. The article was in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and it focused on the toilet situation in NAIA. According to the article, Jose Angel Honrado, the General Manager of the Manila International Airport Authority said:
“What we can promise to our traveling public is that within two to three months all our toilets will be fully equipped with toilet paper and soap,” Honrado said.
And, he vowed, broken plumbing will be fixed, and there’ll be running water.
He said his agency had been renovating lavatories in Terminal 1, and had finished work on seven to eight sets of male and female restrooms out of 17.
OK, so they are going to put toilet paper and soap into the bathrooms. So, to me that means that they are acknowledging that there is no toilet paper or soap in the bathrooms currently. But… did you notice that it is going to take between 3 to 4 months for them to do this? I can understand that fixing the plumbing or redoing the plumbing might take some time, especially since there are lots of bathrooms in an airport terminal, but to put toilet paper will take 3 months or more? Come on, who are they kidding? Think about this, if it will take 3 to 4 months to put toilet paper in the bathrooms, how will they be able to keep it stocked? I mean, if they only have time to restock the toilet paper every 3 or 4 months, that means that in a day or two the bathroom will be without toilet paper again for another 3 or 4 months, when the workers get to restock it again.
Things like the plumbing should have been maintained over the years. Surely, the toilets had running water when they were built, it was just a matter of maintaining the bathrooms over the years, and obviously that did not happen. Why? I am sure that the airports in Paris or Los Angeles have running water in the toilets, so why are they ranked even worse than NAIA? Honestly, the last time I was in NAIA there was running water, but it is the General Manager of the Airport Authority who is saying that there is currently no running water in the airport toilets, so it comes from an authoritative source, I have to believe it.
For me, they should be able to put toilet paper and soap in the bathrooms today. No fuss, just get it done. Instead of giving a deadline 4 months out to fix the plumbing, hire in a bunch of plumbers and get it done in a week. Nothing short of that is reasonable. People are coming in to NAIA from all over the world, and the Philippines needs to make a more positive impression on them than offering toilets with no running water! This is just ridiculous, and must be addressed with great urgency.
I have written often on this site that in order to gain a foothold in the tourist market, the Philippines needs to address some rather basic issues. Until I saw this article and comment from the General Manager of the Manila International Airport Authority, though, I had no idea of just how bad the problem has become.