Air travelers departing for overseas destinations are again required to take off their shoes for security inspection at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, reviving the more than two decades-old policy prompted by a failed terror attack on a passenger aircraft, according to the Office of Transportation Security (OTS).
The “mandatory shoe removal policy,” revived last July 10, is part of the enhanced security arrangement at all NAIA terminals, said OTS spokesperson Kim Marquez.
Shoe inspection in airports had become an inconvenience in air travel as it causes long queues and prompted airline companies to require passengers to arrive hours before the scheduled departure. That security requirement had thankfully been relaxed, but it seems to have been unfortunately reimposed.
Considering that the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) had been taking steps to ensure arriving and departing passengers experience less stress without compromising security at the country’s international airports, notably by imposing fewer X-ray security checks last December, this new order to require air travelers to remove shoes once more doesn’t seem to jive with such efforts.
MIAA removed the initial security at the terminal entrances of NAIA, a move intended to remove queues outside the airport.
Among those who reacted to this new decision by the OTS is Muntinlupa City Mayor Ruffy Biazon, who asked whether there was a study done and data provided on the risk of footwear in airport security. In a Twitter post, he asked “What’s the compelling reason? Is there data on footwear risk? Is there intel on threats?”
“Is there an order from ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization)? At a time when air travel is becoming tedious w/ immigration policy, overbooking, delayed and canceled flights, we impose this. Was there a time and motion study done?” he added.
Many other Filipinos are probably wondering the same thoughts. Hopefully the OTS and CAAP clarifies the logic behind this new hoop that Filipino air travelers will now have to jump through again, most likely while barefoot.*