MIAA GEN MNGR:  CEBU PACIFIC WILL BE FLYING  FROM NAIA TERMINAL 3

MANILA, March 17, 2006 (MALAYA) CLEAN UP STARTS FOR MARCH 31 SOFT OPENING

The Manila International Airport Authority yesterday started cleaning the tarmac at the controversial NAIA Terminal 3 in preparation for its soft-opening on March 31.

MIAA general manager Alfonso Cusi said yesterday that Cebu Pacific will be flying out from the terminal to Hong Kong and Seoul, South Korea twice daily.

Cusi said that airbridges 113 and 114 had been designated for CEBís exclusive docking facility.

The NAIA 3 has 34 passenger bridges and could service 28 airplanes at the same time.

There are 29 elevators, 20 escalators, nine "walking" escalators and the whole terminal is computerized. The whole terminal building is 1.1 kilometers long and occupies 63.5 hectares inside the Villamor Air Base.

It can accommodate 33,000 passengers peak-day capacity and 13 million passengers annually.

The Supreme Court (SC) the other day ordered the government to pay the Philippine International Air Transport Corporation (Piatco) after expropriating the property.

Cusi said he foresees difficulties but added that "something had to be done to start it."

Industry insiders yesterday doubted if the NAIA 3 can really be opened.

They said ownership of the property is still in question and no airline would use the terminal since it would not want to be a party to any future litigation.

They added that the Japanese contractor still holds the key since only it can operate the structure.

The legal impediments, they said would hamper its opening.

Cusi said that the P3.1 billion held in escrow at the Land Bank of the Philippines is intact and would be released as soon as they receive the go signal from the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).

Meanwhile, Piatco chairman Victor Cheng Yong, in a statement, said the company is amenable to amicable settlement.

"Hopefully, the SC ruling will inspire the government to open up to a productive and mutually beneficial cooperation with us, " he said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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