Two Serious Issues on Air Travel:
Antiquated Radar System and
By Apolinario Villalobos
As is always with the inefficient system of the government, the problem on the antiquated radar system of the airport has been brought forth because of the concerns on landings and take off, lately. The airport authority admitted the fact that their equipment is outdated. This poses a big problem because of the current situation of the Manila airport due to its lone runway, resulting to heavy traffic for the incoming and departing flights. This is the reason why most often, flights out of Manila are always delayed, as incoming flights are given the priority for their landing resulting to the long queue of aircraft waiting for their turn to use the lone runway for take-off.
This is the problem with the government’s lack of coordination. Its Department of Tourism is energetically promoting inbound travel and travel among the locals around the country, but the aspect on convenient travel is not given attention. The leadership of the agency concerned also lacks the energy to pursue their needs. They are not assertive to let those people in the Senate and Congress – those concerned with the budget, that their service is practically at the edge of becoming inefficient, or better, useless. So many airport terminals in the country are dilapidated. Even the four terminals in Manila are in sorry state. The NAIA 1 stinks and humid, the NAIA 3 has falling ceilings and leaking pipes. As a cover-up, the MIAA came up with a brand for their service – “service with a smile”. The guy from the MIAA who appeared on TV was also wearing a big smile, as if, the concocted brand name is already a big deal – a big accomplishment! If the guy reflects the kind of people running the airports, then, the country has a big problem. What the airport needs is a reasonable budget so that the antique radar system can be improved to be at par with the demand for efficient operation, period!
Manila pales in comparison even with Kuala Lumpur when it comes to this aspect of travel. A television series on travel showed the hi-tech facilities of Malaysia airport, which includes even a train connected with the airport terminal for the convenience of arriving and departing passengers! And, to think that the Philippines is way ahead of Malaysia in becoming an independent country!
As if the travails of the dilapidated airport terminals are not enough, here comes the issue on the integration of the terminal fee in the purchase of the tickets. Again, the lack of sound analysis of government “intellectuals”, the so-called bright people of the President, surfaces. They seem to have forgotten the problem that such integration gave insurmountable problems to the air travel industry in the past, that is why, it was discontinued. Obviously, they are not aware of how tickets are processed and the circumstances that surround these travel documents afterwards.
The integration of terminal fee in the purchased airline ticket will add corners to the process of ticket issuance, to the detriment of the all parties, especially the passengers, because:
-if an airline ticket is issued by an authorized travel agent, the remittance will become complicated, as the inefficient Department of Tourism will be added as another party to the transaction;
-if the ticket is issued by the airline concerned, the same complication will be involved;
-if the purchased airline ticket is not used, but intended for refund, instead, the process will become more complicated, due to the inclusion of the inefficient Department of Tourism;
-the man-hour and manpower involved are bloated, as close liaising with the Department of Tourism regarding all airline ticket transactions becomes part of the process.
Considering all the mentioned red tapes, the owner of the ticket suffers at the end. Not all tickets issued are owned by locals. Some tickets are issued on the spot to foreign tourists who decide sometimes to travel to destinations that catch their fancy while traveling around the country. If due to inclement weather, they failed to use the ticket/s, they will surely have to have them refunded. Will they extend their stay in the Philippines just to go through the refund process – considering still the proven inefficiency of the Department of Tourism? Compared to the current standard procedure in which unused ticket can be refunded by the travel agent or the airline concerned, the proposed integration system will definitely spell disaster to the tourism industry!
The problem with the “bright people” in the government, lawmakers included, is that they are blubbers! In an effort to catch the limelight, for self-glorification via the media, they just talk and talk without even thinking with reason! What the airports need is an efficient system to accommodate the influx of outbound passengers paying terminal fee, by opening the counters much earlier so that passengers will be more encouraged to check in, and deploy staff to match the influx. The problem is the long queue of passengers due to the late opening of the counters for terminal fee!
These “bright” government people should take a closer look at the real and glaring state of the tourism industry with towns and cities shamelessly suffering from dilapidated airport terminals, runways pockmarked with holes, closed airports due to purportedly lack of budget, absence of convenient lodging facilities, sorry state of roads leading to their provinces, and many other urgent concerns to which budgets are supposed to find their way, instead of letting the government moneys left at the mercy of the “kawatans” – government robbers clad in barong tagalog in the Senate, Congress, and Malacaῆan who discourse about “ghost projects” – with all “honesty” and “legal fluency”!
If these government people are really concerned about the promotion of convenient travel and tourism in general, they should not threaten the already suffering air travel and tourism industry with such inutile and nonsensical idea, that can only come from a pea-brain!