Credit to Author: Rudy Santos| Date: Mon, 25 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0800
MANILA, Philippines — The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has established itself as one of the most internationally connected airports in the world.
Known by its International Air Transport Association code MNL, it ranked 15th in the top 50 global airport megahubs and secured third spot in the top 25 low-cost carrier airport megahubs.
According to the 2023 Megahubs Index by OAG, a leading provider of digital flight information, intelligence and analytics for airports, MNL has climbed from 29th place in 2019 to 15th place this year in terms of international connectivity.
Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) emerged as the dominant air carrier with a 32 percent share of flights.
In this list, led by the UK’s London Heathrow Airport, MNL also ranks sixth among the top international megahubs in the Asia Pacific region, following KUL (Malaysia), HND (Japan), ICN (Republic of Korea), BKK (Thailand), and SIN (Singapore).
OAG noted, “The presence of seven Asian airport hubs in the Global Top 20 is significant considering the region is still on the path towards a full recovery.”
Currently, MNL hosts 40 international carriers serving 58 international destinations.
The latest addition to NAIA’s roster in 2023 is ZIPAIR, which launched its first flight between Manila and Narita last July. Additionally, PAL has introduced nonstop flights to Perth, and Air China now directly connects Tianfu Chengdu to NAIA.
HK Express is set to launch its inaugural flight between Manila and Hong Kong on Oct. 13, while United Airlines is scheduled to launch nonstop flights connecting Manila with San Francisco starting Oct. 30.
Among the top 25 megahubs for low-cost international connections this year, MNL stands out in 3rd place, trailing only KUL and ICN.
MNL is the home of Cebu Pacific Air, the Philippines’ leading low-cost carrier (LCC), which will be launching flights to Da Nang, a new destination from Manila, beginning Dec. 7.
Thirteen Asia Pacific airports, including MNL, dominate the rankings, reflecting the high level of LCC penetration in South Asia and Southeast Asia.
“We are pleased that MNL is able to ride the momentum brought about by the strong and consistent travel rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the LCC penetration in our region. We are likewise grateful for the confidence the international carriers have extended to us. Testament to this is the growing number of applications from various international carriers who wish to operate flights in NAIA,” MIAA officer-in-charge Bryan Co said.
“NAIA being the country’s main gateway makes it incumbent upon us, as the airport authority, to expand the destinations Filipinos, as well as our guests, can fly to and from MNL,” added Co.
Much hope lies on the public private partnership (PPP) in improving transportation and connectivity in the country, like transforming NAIA into a world-class airport ,Sen. Grace Poe said.
Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public services, called for strong collaboration among government agencies, policy experts, scholars, the business sector and foreign chambers of commerce for a robust and transparent environment for infrastructure investments.
“There is hope that we can finally transform into a world-class airport through the upcoming modernization project,” Poe said. “Filipinos are also awaiting the development of regional airports.” — Cecille Suerte Felipe