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Airport airside congestion in London

My wife sent me this photo prior to taking off from London Heathrow on her way home.

That’s a very long queue of planes waiting to take off!

This reminded me of the articles that came out about a multi-billion peso plan to expand the Ninoy Aquino International Airport with a giant terminal forming out of connecting Terminals 1, 2 and 4. Even with a huge terminal building with a much higher passenger capacity, NAIA still would’t be able to solve its congestion woes with only 2 (intersecting) runways. Take it from the capital city airports in the region including Singapore’s Changi that has multiple parallel runways that allow for almost simultaneous take-offs and landings. Such allows the airport to handle more flights – plain and simple.

On airport runway names

There’s an interesting article on runway renaming that appeared on Wired. Ever wondered what those numbers on airport runways are about? Well, they represent the runway’s orientation, which is influenced by many factors among them the magnitude and dominant directions of winds. Historical wind data are collected and translated into a wind rose, which looks very much like a compass, and is used to determine a suitable orientation for a runway.

Davies, A. (2018) Thank the planet’s shifty magnetic poles for runway renaming, http://www.wired.com, https://www.wired.com/story/airports-rename-runways-magnetic-shift/?CNDID=37243643&mbid=nl_011918_daily_list3_p2 [Last accessed 1/21/2018].

NAIA’s main runway is 06-24 or 24-06 depending on the take-off or landing direction. Does it need renaming, too?

Overnight parking rates at NAIA T3 – some updates

I recently posted about the new parking rates at NAIA Terminal 3. I took this photo last night as we exited the Terminal 3 parking lot after our delayed arrival from a domestic trip.

There’s no mention in the signs about overnight rates. When asked about the latter, the staff at the booth simply replied that the information posted are their new parking rates. I assume this is just for Terminal 3 as that is what the signs stated and perhaps because only T3 has a multi-level parking facility. The other three terminals only have open parking lots. It’s easy to calculate your parking fees should you opt to leave your vehicles at the T3 multi-level building. If you find it expensive then perhaps you can just take public transport or have someone drop you off (and pick-up later).

New rates at NAIA Terminal 3 multi-level parking

Only last weekend I was surprised to have been charged 840 pesos for what was usually a  600-peso fee for the equivalent of 2 nights parking at NAIA Terminal 3’s multi-level parking. When I asked, I was informed by the staff that they don’t have overnight parking charges anymore effective a certain date. There was supposed to be a sign at the parking entrance but I didn’t notice this when I entered the facility very early (around 4:00 AM) last Thursday. Here’s a photo of the receipt issued to me.

Note that regular rates were applied and zero was charged for overnight parking. Also note the classification as a “regular” parker. Before, the staff just makes the assessment that the person is an ‘overnighter’ based on the info of time-in and time-out (quite easy to see) and issues overnight tickets of 300 pesos each (per night) for the assessed number for the Parker. [I posted about this previously.]

I have another colleague who was similarly charged despite just an overnight. I still have to confirm it but it seems that there really is no longer an overnight parking rate and they just charge you with the regular rates. That means they are now maximising the revenues from parking and no longer provide incentives for those leaving their cars while away on trips. Whether this is something like a progressive initiative for parking or not, its actually going to be a turn-off for many including individuals and families who usually leave their cars when they travel domestically or abroad for business or pleasure.

Ho Chi Minh City’s (Saigon’s) Tan Son Nhat International Airport departure

This is a late post about Ho Chi Minh City’s international airport – the Tan Son That International Airport. I meant to post it weeks ago but then other more interesting topics came by including those about articles that I could quickly share. So here it goes and with some photos I took at the terminal:

Airport terminal driveway

The driveway at the departure level actually reminded me of NAIA Terminal 3’s own driveway. The resemblance is uncanny.

Taxi stand at the departure level driveway?

Unloading luggage from the taxi

Passengers may get carts to help them carry their luggage

Spacious check-in lobby

The layout of the lobby also reminded me of the NAIA Terminal 3

Duty free shops inside the airport terminal

Many terminal spaces have yet to be occupied

More shops inside the terminal

This large shop sells local items and I discovered that it is cheaper to get your coffee, chocolates and other souvenirs.

Vietnam manufactures many name brand items including leather goods, shoes, bags and clothes. You can get these legitimate ‘Made in Vietnam’ goods at the airport a bit lower prices because they are sold duty free. Of course, they will not be as cheap compared to the high quality knock-offs you can buy downtown.

The corridor to the pre-departure areas is lined up with seats and, of course, more shops

The pre-departure areas also have shops for the last minute shopper. I still had a few hundred thousand dongs on me so I ended up buying more coffee.

Korean Air plane being towed to the terminal

Passengers waiting for their boarding call may just opt to take a seat as others circulate among shops and cafes

Tiger Air plane berthed at the terminal

Spacious pre-departure area for our gate

The bridge to our plane back to Manila

Our boarding gate

Overall, I think the airport terminal was well-maintained and the procedures were quite efficient. It was not crowded despite the many flights handled by the airport.

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) airport arrival

It was my first time to travel to Vietnam and so the opportunity to take photos of the international airport at Ho Chi Minh City presented itself. I wanted to see for myself how the terminal compared to Manila’s considering other airports in the region such as Changi, Kuala Lumpur and Suvarnabhumi are definitely better than NAIA.

View of the tarmac from our tube after we disembarked from our aircraft

The airport had a linear layout similar to NAIA’s Terminals 2 and 3, and so we had to walk some distance to the immigration counters. The moving walkway was functioning well and speeded up our walk.

Descending from the second level after clearing immigration, you get this view of the baggage claim area. Frankly, it reminded me of NAIA Terminal 3’s own baggage claim area.

The view of the bottom of the stairs

The baggage claim area was as spacious at that level 

Another photo of the baggage claim area. After clearing customs and exiting to the arrival lobby, you can change currencies at the many banks offering these services or perhaps purchase an item(s) at the shops.

The taxi stand is along the terminal driveway where you can also wait for an Uber or Grab car. Ridesharing/ridehailing apps Uber and Grab are very popular in HCMC and are definitely cheaper than getting a cab so this option is highly recommended for travelers.

The arrival area is spacious and features several  outdoor cafes/restaurants

Here is one cafe beside the aircraft departure and arrival information boards

Another cafe, this one near the taxi stand

Zamboanga airport departure

Returning to Manila after our business in Zamboanga was completed, we rented a van to take us to the airport. I also took the opportunity to take more photos of the airport.

I think the sign should state “departing” instead of “departure”

The check-in counters have windows, which I found to be unusual as similar counters in other airports like Cebu, Davao and Iloilo are open.

Spacious check-in lobby of the terminal

Posted on the windows at the check-in counters are information on items to be declared and those prohibited or not allowed on carry-on (hand carried) luggage.

Here’s another sign pertaining to valuable, fragile and prohibited items for checked-in and carry on luggage

Ground floor pre-departure area

The airport has a relatively spacious pre-departure area considering the terminal is older than the likes of Iloilo, Bacolod/Silay, Puerto Princesa and Laguindingan.

At the back are wood and steel benches typical of what you might find in parks rather than in an airport terminal. Perhaps these were placed here to provide more seats to waiting passengers?

At the Second Floor are concessionaires selling food, drinks and souvenir items.

A view of our turnaround aircraft

Approaching to board our aircraft bound for Manila

A look back at the Zamboanga airport terminal