Air Asia domestic ops move to Terminal 2 will improve passenger experience

THE Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 was virtually painted red as Air Asia Philippines Saturday began its domestic operations there, spelling bigger space, better amenities, and a more comfortable travel experience for those traveling domestically. 

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) OIC manager Bryan Co said the activity also marked the culmination of the airport management’s schedule & terminal assignment rationalization (STAR) program aimed at balancing the capacity of the four NAIA Terminals, noting that specifically for NAIA Terminal 2, the removal of certain structures such as immigration counters and customs inspection stations and equipment will now allow an increase in its capacity from 7.5 million to 10 million passengers per year, or an increase of about 20 to 25 percent from the current rate.

The airport media did not only witness the transfer of operations from NAIA Terminal 4 to NAIA Terminal 2 but also the arrival of the first Air Asia plane from Tagbilaran which was greeted with the traditional water cannon salute and the blessing of the counters and even the first batch of passengers to use them. 

Present, of course, were airline CEO Ricky Isla, spokesman Steve Dailisan and deputy spokesman Carlo Carongoy, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) OIC manager Bryan Co and officials from the DOTr, CAB and CAAP, among others.

In his speech, Isla profusely thanked Co for giving the airline the opportunity to grow its capacity a lot bigger.

Co, for his part, said the migration of Air Asia’s domestic flights from NAIA 4 to NAIA 2 will spell convenience not only for the said airline but also for those who will remain operating in NAIA 4.

“We warmly welcome AirAsia to its new home for domestic flights. We share the same level of commitment to improving the total airport experience of the flying public. Indeed, this is a winning move for all stakeholders,” said Co, who, despite being the MIAA’s OIC general manager,  noticeably lined up to undergo the routinary screening just like everyone else.

Well for starters, from only 11 counters, the airline now has 20 check-in counters, a significant increase that would definitely provide more convenience for the passengers. 

According to Isla, the passenger experience will be a lot better with the airline having seven aerobridges compared to the situation at NAIA 4 where the passengers have to cross the ramp and use the stairs in going to the aircraft.

Asked about the airline’s readiness in view of the present situation where airline companies are beset with so many problems concerning delays and cancellations, Isla assured that they will be consistent with their slogan, ‘always ready’ not only in terms of customer experience.  

He said that on top of the repetitive efforts to remind their passengers about this new development, there are also measures that are put in place should the passengers fail to read the messages sent to them, and they still go to the wrong airport. He added there are standby vehicles or shuttle buses to ferry them to the correct airport.

Apart from helpdesks and especially in cases of disruptions, Isla vowed that they would strictly follow the air passenger bill by providing basic needs like food and drinks every two or three hours of delay encountered. He said that passengers are also properly advised in cases where there are inevitable delays.

The transfer is advantageous to the airline as this would allow it to add more routes, increase flight frequency, and could utilize wide-body aircraft in the near future to improve connectivity and enhance customer experience.

It was learned from OIC-GM Co that while making the travel experience more pleasant and seamless for domestic passengers, the Air Asia move is aligned with the original design of NAIA 2, which was built in the late 1990s as a purely domestic terminal.


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