Solaire Grand Ballroom saw an exciting coming together of many local and international airport authorities, developers, architects, and investors, as well as technology solutions providers, and ground support and utilities suppliers at the 2nd Philippine Airport Modernization and Expansion Summit last May 24 and 25, 2017. With information-heavy talks and industry-relevant panel discussions, impressive and innovative booths, fruitful one-on-one meetings, and networking opportunities, here are 5 of the top things we believe are worth looking forward to after the grand event.
1. A bigger (and hopefully better) Ninoy Aquino International Airport. In talking of expanding and modernizing Philippine airports, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport remains at the top of the revamp list. Airport decongestion plans are underway, headlined by the building of a bigger airport (NAIA 5, anyone?) off the coast of Sangley Point. This sprawling airport, which will showcase many innovative airport features, aims to help with the increasing traffic in NAIA terminals 1 through 4, making arrivals, departures, and connections more convenient for travelers. Another notable and exciting improvement underway is the laying down of railway systems that will connect airport to airport (i.e. connecting railways from NAIAs 1 through 4), making transport significantly easier.
2. Improvements to provincial airports. Away from the main local-international gateway of the country, many of the Philippines’ domestic airports will also see a revamp. The new floorplan and design of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, for one, was presented by CEO and General Manager Atty. Steve Dicdican. The plans highlighted a laid-back, nature resort theme never before seen in any local airports, along with innovations in technology and ground service. These improvements in facilities and service hope to encourage more flights into the city. Improvements to respective airports in Clark, Palawan, and many other major domestic cities are likewise being studied.
3. Proper and better coordination between private consortiums and the government. Privately-owned supply companies and government-run agencies involved in local airport modernization projects (such as the Department of Transportation and the CAA Philippines) hope to communicate more closely with each other to help bring to fruition planned developments, innovations, and expansion projects (as mentioned above) to the country’s main gateways
4. Bolstered tourism because of more infrastructure. As President of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Guenter Taus stated, the Philippines’ tourism industry has a lot of potential. With breathtaking destinations, and hospitable, English-speaking locals with pronounceable names, the country could easily be placed on the tourist destination map. The suggestion is that for increased tourism, certain focus should be placed towards more infrastructure to house airport operations – which is exactly the goal of the summit. More expansion and modernization will hopefully equal more tourism for the country.
5. Airport security systems and more advanced technology. Airport security and intelligence systems are becoming more and more advanced, keeping pace with today’s continuous improvement and innovation of such technologies. The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines spearheaded and encouraged the use of technology – like improved air and on-ground communications systems, public announcement systems, security cameras, and even automated in-line baggage management systems – not only to ensure the absolute security of passengers and travelers, but also to make all points of contact at the airport swift, efficient, and hassle-free. Technologies geared towards pleasant passenger experiences – such as professional audio systems that play soothing music, dynamic and information-laden LED screens for flight information and the like, and even ambient scenting to calm the senses – are also being enlisted to round off the whole airport experience. WAV Global, the country’s pioneer provider of proprietary technology for atmospheric branding, was one of the sponsors and exhibiting companies that presented and offered customized music and messaging, dynamic digital signage players (with customized content), and signature fragrances to summit attendees.
With these improvements, modernization plans, innovations, and expansion projects only the tip of the iceberg, the future looks bright for Philippine airports.