Singapore Airlines to relocate to new Manila airport terminal next month

MANILA - Singapore Airlines (SIA) will transfer its flight operations in the Philippines from the ageing Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 to the more modern Terminal 3 next month.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Transportation Secretary Jun Abaya said SIA would relocate to Terminal 3 along with four other major carriers: Cathay Pacific, Delta Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Emirates.

The transportation department announced that Terminal 3, after a long-drawn legal row that lasted 17 years, would finally become fully operational by July 31.

Before the scheduled transfer to Terminal 3, SIA had been using Terminal 1, which had been ranked by industry groups as the world's worst airport. Last week, a sewer line burst just outside the departure area.

The contract to build Terminal 3 was awarded in 1997, and the gateway was supposed to open in 2002. A legal dispute between the government and its main contractor, however, stalled construction work.

The terminal would not open till July 2008, but it has been operating at just half its capacity of 13 million passengers, and only Philippines Airlines and Cebu Pacific have been using it.

Last year, Japanese firm Takenaka was granted a contract to finish construction work on Terminal 3.