Smile only, no ‘Merry Christmas’ greeting from NAIA staff members

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Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1


LAW enforcers assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminals are banned from greeting passengers “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Year” this holiday season.

The ban covers all employees of the Manila International Airport Authority, PNP Aviation Security Group, as well as Immigration and Customs personnel.

The restriction was issued during the time of then MIAA General Manager Alfonso Cusi who  ordered law enforcers at the airport to refrain from greeting passengers, as this was observed to be their way of indirectly asking for tips.

MIAA media affairs division head Jess Martinez said Cusi’s memorandum is being circulated yearly at the four NAIA terminals, reminding employees of the existing policy against soliciting money from arriving or departing passengers.

Through CCTV monitors, MIAA is monitoring how  employees approach travellers,  especially Overseas Filipino Workers who are expected to arrive to spend their Christmas with their families and loved ones.

“There are times that our fellow countrymen give tips because of good service but we stick to the ‘no tipping’ policy,” said Martinez.

MIAA general manager Ed Monreal  also warned airport personnel against asking gifts and favors from passengers this Christmas.

“I have no problem with the personnel greeting passengers a ‘Merry Christmas,’ as long as there is no intention to ask for gifts,” he said.

For those who will be found guilty of the act, he warned of a “disciplinary action.”

NAIA Customs district collector Ramon Anquilan also instructed  personnel to refrain from greeting passengers  “Merry Christmas” because it might sound they were asking for  “some gifts.”

“[They should] just give their best smile,” Anquilan added.

Meanwhile, the Airport Authority has implemented measures to ensure the safety and convenience of passengers in anticipation of the heavy volume of travelers this Christmas. Officials said passengers this year may increase by some 10 percent based on past data.

MIAA also urged that welcome and send-off parties be minimized to avoid congestion at the terminals.

Travelers were e also reminded to refrain from bringing prohibited items to the airport and to stow all belongings in one’s carry-on baggage for faster processing at the screening checkpoints.

Passengers with any concern may approach airport staff at the terminal help desks.

Last year, Monreal ordered the implementation of a slot management system to make sure airlines depart as scheduled. He said the system helped improve the on-time performance (OTP) of airlines, effectively reducing incidents of flight delays.

Records show that OTP of airlines at the NAIA  improved from 47 percent to 71 percent since the new administration took over.

Coordination has been made with airlines regarding the efficient processing of their passengers, especially at the check-in counters. Additional airline personnel will be deployed as needed to accommodate the increase in travelers.

To improve the flow of traffic to and from the airport, Monreal said they are now coordinating with the Metro Manila Development Authority and other concerned agencies and local government units. Security issues are also being discussed.

Monreal appealed to the public to cooperate and refrain from turning arrival gates into a parking area.

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