Airline operators, MIAA fight over NAIA office eviction
MANILA, Philippines – The head of the Airline Operators’ Council (AOC) wrote to the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) requesting a dialogue be held regarding an impending eviction of about 4 AOC members from their current offices in Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s Terminal 1 (NAIA 1).
Last Wednesday, January 29, the MIAA sent eviction notices the 4 AOC members, including Manila International Airport Services Corporation, a ground-handling service company. The notice asked them to vacate their offices so NAIA 1 could be rehabilitated. (READ: Partial closure of NAIA 1 when rehab begins)
Miascor was told by MIAA general manager Jose Angel Honrado to vacate their office by Saturday, February 8. Their place was supposed to be "boarded up” on the 9th.
Florante Isidro, chairman of the AOC, requested the urgent dialogue “for the smooth facilitation and impending implementation of Terminal 1’s building rehabilitation.” The AOC consists of 39 foreign and local airlines, including ground handling services at the NAIA 1.
Advising members of the AOC to stay in their respective offices pending a dialogue, Isidro told Honrado that they regret "the manner and very short notice by which the AOC members are being requested to vacate their offices without any contingency plans that would address the safety, security and convenience of the stakeholders."
The MIAA threatened to forcibly close the offices of those disobeying the eviction notice.
"The NAIA 1 rehabilitation project is being undertaken by the government, through the Department of Transportation and Communications… to address the safety and security issues of the public," said Honrado to Rodolfo Sarile, Miascor marketing manager. "The scope of works include structural retrofitting and installation of new fire protection system.” (READ: Gov't to travelers on NAIA rehab: Be patient)
Honrado added that the MIAA "identified the areas for your temporary offices for two months, more or less, while the works are being undertaken in your leased areas." The matter, Honrado says, had been previously discussed on January 16, 2014, saying that a number of airline lounges and offices would be affected by the renovations.
Sarile released the same statement forwarded by Isidro to Honrado.
The AOC denied having any official dialogue with the MIAA other than verbal notices or newspaper reports. The AOC deemed it insufficient to forward to their offices abroad for action.
According to AOC spokesman Leoncio Nakpil, foreign airlines needed to be informed in advance of any large-scale relocation due to the need to take care of company equipment. AOC members also wanted assurances on the safety of their offices and property, as well as contingency plans in case of a power failure, among other requests.
Nakpil added that foreign airlines operating in the Philippines had a bilateral agreement with the country. The agreement, Nakpil noted, should be respected by the host country, and that moves that would adversely affect their operations had to be weighed carefully and considered well because of the money involved in the relocation. – Rappler.com