MANILA, Philippines – As of July 10, 2023, passengers departing from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) for overseas destinations are once again mandated to remove their shoes for security inspection, reviving a policy more than two decades old.
This comes in the wake of an announcement made by the Office of Transportation Security (OTS) spokesperson, Kim Marquez, that the renewed shoe removal policy is part of the enhanced security arrangement across all NAIA terminals.
The policy traces its roots back to a global security protocol established in December 2001, following a thwarted terrorist attempt to detonate a homemade bomb hidden within his shoes during an American Airlines flight. This flight, bound for Miami from Paris, was quickly diverted to Boston’s Logan International Airport following the intervention of alert crewmembers and fellow passengers who swiftly apprehended the terrorist.
As part of the recent security enhancements, Marquez also informed that all but one security X-ray machines at NAIA Terminal 1 were removed as of December 1, 2022, to provide ample space for departing travelers and their luggage during security checks. “There will be only one security check and that is at the final check right after the immigration area where high-tech X-ray machines, body scanners, and metal detectors are in place to ensure all passengers are well screened,” Marquez added.
This decision came as a response to complaints about “too much security check at NAIA” from travelers, voiced via the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) management. The MIAA argued for a balance where passengers experienced less stress without compromising the overall security at the country’s international airports.
The Airport Security Committee (ASC), the MIAA, airline representatives, and various stakeholders, including the Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group (PNP-Avsegroup), jointly approved a strategy in December last year to reduce X-Ray security checks at the NAIA while bolstering the presence of armed personnel and K-9 bomb and drug sniffing dogs in the terminal lobby. Prohibited items are now confiscated directly at the check-in counters to expedite the processing of travel documents and minimize delays.