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MANILA — The country›s premier gateway, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), has made it to the top 10 of the world’s most improved airports based on the search of the 2018 World Airport Awards conducted by Skytrax, an international air transport rating organization.

NAIA placed 10th in the award based on the relative year-on-year quality performance by all airports covered by the World Airport Survey.

Rome Fiumicino Airport was named as the World’s Most Improved Airport in 2018, with Perth Airport coming in second place, and Calgary International Airport in third.

“I think it is basically the little things that we have done. The little efforts that the team has implemented with the cooperation of all stakeholders… the improvement of the facilities that we’ve implemented so far,” Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal said in a press briefing Thursday.

“Nasa ika-sampu na tayo. Ang importante, ano pa ang dapat nating gawin moving forward. That is even a bigger task for us. Paangat ng paangat mas mahirap pa ang challenge. There’s still hope to improve NAIA (We are now the 10th most improved airport. What is important is what we will do to move forward. That is even a bigger task for us. We face tougher challenges as we go high),” Monreal added.

Among the challenges faced by MIAA is the proliferation of illegally franchised or “colorum” taxis in the NAIA complex, as well as taxi drivers who are overcharging passengers.

“Ang isa lang na frustrated ako ay ang mga pasaway na taxis. Talagang nanggigil ako, sana po tumigil na sila (One thing that really frustrates me – deceitful taxi drivers. I›m really frustrated, I hope they stop),” he said.

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Monreal noted that the challenge is to sustain this ranking.

He thanked the passengers who took their time to share their experiences at NAIA through the survey.

“Their testimonies serve as our inspiration to believe that change is not impossible, even in the midst of trials,” he said.

He also thanked the MIAA staff for their commitment and cooperation to help improve NAIA.

The MIAA has implemented various reforms that resulted in the reduction of flight delays, decongestion on the airport runway, and improvement of overall passenger experience.

These initiatives include restriction on general aviation to prioritize commercial flights and reduce flight delays; imposition of the five-minute rule in which pilots who declare they are ready to take off must depart within the prescribed time; provision of cleaner toilets, additional seats, free WiFi and well-wishers’ area; instituting new policies for baggage handling and eradicating the “laglag-bala” scheme.

The World Airport Awards are voted for by air travelers in the largest, annual global airport customer satisfaction survey. For the 2018 Awards, the survey was conducted from August 2017 to February 2018.

The survey covered 550 airports worldwide and evaluated the travelers’ experiences across different airport service and product key performance indicators – check-in, arrivals, transfers, shopping, security, immigration and departure. The survey was made available in English, Spanish and Chinese languages.

Skytrax describes the World Airport Awards as “the most prestigious accolades for the world airport industry”, and also cited that this is the benchmark of airport excellence.

Along with NAIA, the other most improved airports are Taiwan Taoyuan, Athens, Nadi, Montreal, Moscow Sheremetyevo and Houston Intercontinental.

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Meanwhile, for the sixth year now, Singapore’s Changi Airport is still the world’s best airport, according to the Awards.

The other top airports are Seoul Incheon, Tokyo Haneda, Hong Kong, Doha Hamad, Munich, Centrair Nagoya, London Heathrow, Zurich, and Frankfurt.