Caught (up) in traffic

Home » Airports

Category Archives: Airports

Sri Lanka Airport departure – Part 2

Before I post more on a recent trip to Singapore, I backtrack a bit to the trip to Sri Lanka. Following is a much delayed second part to my feature on Bandaranaike International Airport.

Scale model of the airport development project with this angle showing the terminal and land transport interface

Terminal building with short pier for the gates

Closer and clearer look at the interfaces with rail and road transport

From the display we proceeded towards our gate.

More shops mostly selling gems, jewelry or tea

Looking out a window to see Sri Lankan Airlines planes lined up at the terminal

Other aircraft at the terminal are accessed via transporter(i.e., bus).

Long corridor to our gate

Passengers head to the gates via a moving walkway. Otherwise, it would be a long walk.

Pre-departure lounge

Behind these seats is the smoking room

Passengers enter the pre-departure lounge through one last security check and the boarding pass and passport check by Sri Lankan Airlines ground staff.

Sri Lanka Airport Departure – Part 1

Before I forget, I am posting the following photos of Bandaranaike International Airport when we departed for home last September.

Arriving at the airport terminal driveway – it was quite early in the morning and we didn’t expect to see so many passengers

Entering the terminal, you are greeted by rows of shops selling a variety of items mostly souvenirs and foods and tea

Souvenir items include clothing, tea, and electronics

Local products including handicrafts. I bought a mask and ref magnets at one of the shops.

The terminal has many empty spaces. I guess they still do not have so many visitors to necessitate more commerce?

The area just before the check-in counters is spacious. We wondered if the terminal can be quite crowded during the day.

Check-in counters for Sri Lankan Airlines – there were a lot of visitors from Arab countries due to an international Islamic convention in Colombo. Many of them were catching the earlier flights out of the country that day.

Check-in counter for our flight

After checking-in, we immediately entered the pre-departure area. Large screens show flight schedules and there were signs towards the gates.

An escalator leads to the pre-departure area where there are more shops and restaurants

Of course, there were many shops selling teas but there were also many local products like these leather stools that also doubles as storage. These are collapsible and can easily be packed for travel. A friend brought home one for his home.

Jewelry store at the terminal – Sri Lanka is the source for many of the world’s gemstones. Of course, the prices are very competitive and one should probably go to legitimate stores in the city instead of buying at the airport.

Liquor and cigarettes are popular items

More tea shops along with cosmetics and perfumes at the duty free stores

The area between the shops and the corridor towards the boarding gates

More photos soon!

On airport congestion again

I have been traveling a lot the past months and most of these trips require air travel. We’ve experienced quite a number of delays including waiting for about an hour inside an airplane. That happened after boarding and being informed by the pilot that they have been instructed by Manila air traffic control to standby where we were. Where we were was one of the major cities in Mindanao so that meant instant delay to our travel. Other times, we were on time; leaving around the original ETD and landing around the original ETA. To be fair, my most recent flights were quite okay with our plane landing 15-20 minutes ahead of the ETA. This recent variation in the travel times show that congestion is not necessarily a big a problem as it was months ago or even a year or so ago. Perhaps there have already been adjustments, for example, in airlines’ juggling their fleets to reduce turnaround times. Air traffic control may also have been optimized for various airports. This challenge to reduce airport congestion both on the ground and in flight is a continuing effort by airports and is not limited to Manila.

Aircraft queuing for take-off at Changi Airport in Singapore

On the NAIA Terminal 3 overnight parking fees again

I’ve received a lot of views and inquiries about the parking rates at the NAIA Terminal 3. There seems to be a lot of people wanting to know about the rates and ideas about how much they might be paying if they chose to leave their vehicles while on trip abroad or within the Philippines. There are a few articles I’ve written about them and even posted some example parking receipts. We also have had someone from NAIA parking explaining how fees are computed (scroll through the comments sections of my posts, its there somewhere). In the interest of many travelers still inquiring about this topic and to have a recent example, I am posting a receipt from a very recent trip when I parked my vehicle at the multilevel parking facility of T3:

If you break down the total amount paid, 600 pesos went to the 2 overnights that I assumed to cover 48 hours of the total 56 hours and 3 minutes logged for the parked vehicle. The regular fee of 135 pesos covered the remaining 8 hours and 3 minutes. If the basic rate was 35 pesos for the first 3 hours and 20 pesos per succeeding hour, then that practically translates to the 135 pesos. I hope this helps my readers!

Mactan Cebu International Airport – newly opened lobby area at Terminal 1

Arriving in Cebu, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the airport’s Terminal 1 has a new lobby that is now open to the public. Here are photos taken during our recent trip to Cebu last month.

View of the newly opened lobby from the baggage claim area

Passengers and well-wishers (mostly people waiting to fetch arriving passengers) at the MCIA’s new lobby

This is the arrival level and one can use the escalators or the stairs to get to the departure level

Escalators at the MCIA’s new lobby

The corridor to the transport terminal is unfinished but the path is spacious enough as shown in the photo.

This is the area closer to the older exit from the arrival area of Terminal 1, which is actually closer to the transport terminal.

A preview of a much more spacious area where a driveway used to be

I made sure to take more photos of the lobby upon our departure from Cebu. Here are those photos:

Workers walking along the newly completed pathways at the ground transport interphase for the departure area of the airport’s Terminal 1.

A familiar scene: passengers saying their farewells to relatives at the airport terminal

Carts neatly placed for use by travellers

Information signs and columns are sleek and modern. These show the way to the check-in counters.

A very spacious departure level lobby

View towards the escalators to the arrival area, which is one level down from the departure area

Shakey’s seem to be one of the first to establish a branch at the newly refurbished Terminal 1.

Corridor to the terminal’s domestic flight check-in counters

Newly installed information board showing scheduled departures and their status

More about Cebu’s airport soon!

Sri Lanka Airport Arrival – Bandaranaike International Airport

The Bandaranaike International Airport reminded me of the larger airports in the Philippines. At least that was my first impression of this main gateway for Sri Lanka upon our arrival. Here are photos I took upon our arrival at Colombo last September.

We deplaned away from the international terminal where a bus was waiting for us.

Other passengers deplaned from the rear door and another bus was waiting for them.

The bus was not airconditioned so we had our first taste of the Sri Lankan climate. Coming from a tropical country though, it was okay for us.

Passengers deplaning had to stop on the stairs as our bus was full and they had to wait for the next one.

Other aircraft on the tarmac of the airport

The air traffic control tower as seen from a distance

Upon disembarking from our buses, passengers ascend towards the immigration section

It took us a while to clear immigration as there were few officers assigned to foreigners that time. Upon clearing immigration, we walked towards the baggage reclaim area only to be greeted by this sight.

On one side were shops selling mostly liquor and cigarettes and on the other were shops selling appliances and other electronics. I didn’t expect to see so many selling items like TVs, refrigerators and washing machines. And then we thought these were quite similar to the set-up of duty free shops in Manila during the 1970s to the 1990s when many if not most arrivals were either balikbayan (vacationing from the US, Canada or Europe) or Overseas Foreign Workers who were on a break or between contracts. We observed similar situations at Bandaranaike as many Sri Lankans arriving appeared to be OFWs.

We descended towards the baggage reclaim area, which turned out to be an expansive area.

There were few passengers  so that added to the feeling of space.

The airport had many conveyor belts

It took us a while to get to our conveyor belt. Along the way, I took this photo of the customs channels. The green was for travellers with nothing to declare. The red was for those with taxable items.

Passengers positioned themselves around the conveyor belt

Passengers waiting for their luggage

Upon getting our luggage, we proceeded towards the terminal exit. The way was lined with currency exchange stalls, hotels booths and tourist travel booths.

Currency exchange and tourist services

The path towards the terminal exit is lined with tourist agencies offering various services and packages.

Passengers are greeted by those picking them up (including hotel transportation) and those offering transport services to various destinations. 

There were many empty stalls intended for duty free shops at the terminal. Perhaps these will be occupied once the airport complex is completed and there is an increase in flights at Bandaranaike.

Passengers waiting for their rides upon exiting the terminal

One of the driveways at the arrivals area. This was for private vehicles picking up arriving passengers. We crossed this to get to the driveway where our Uber car was waiting for us.

A friend engaging our Uber driver – it wasn’t difficult to make conversation as most Sri Lankans could speak English; one of the legacies of being under British rule for a long time.

View of the airport driveway

Familiar scene of a buddhist image – we thought this was similar to scenes in Thailand

More photos from our trip to Sri Lanka soon!

Changi Jewel and transit

The trip to Sri Lanka afforded me some hours at Singapore’s Changi Airport. En route to Colombo, we made sure to go around the complex and check out one of the attractions of the top airport in the world. Changi’s Jewel is very impressive and can make you forgot you were actually inside an airport terminal. Here are some photos taken as we trekked to the Jewel via Terminal 2 and 3.

Visitors have the option of walking by themselves or using the moving walkway whenever these were available.

The automated guideway transit (AGT) system of Changi allow you to transfer from one terminal to another with the exception of Terminal 4.

I took this photo of the guideway and the AGT as reference for my lectures

Another view of the corridor connecting Terminal 3 to the Jewel

Directional sign to the Jewel

Changi’s air traffic control tower

The main attraction is this gigantic waterfall located at a man-made complex that’s designed to imitate conditions at a rainforest.

Changi AGT slow down for passengers to have a good close view of the Jewel

All the water used is recycled and one can get mesmerised by the vortex where all the water falls and seem to be sucked into.

Here’s another look at the Jewel and the airport AGT

There is a mall with shops, restaurants and cafes around the Jewel.

Another photo of the AGT guideway above the road system at Changi

Taxis queued along airport roads

More guideways

A look back at the way from the Jewel

More photos of Changi soon!