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 (IATA) code, MNL, it ranked 15th in the top 50 global airport megahubs and secured the 3rd 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. The flag carrier, Philippine Airlines, emerged as the dominant air carrier with a 32% share of flights.
In this list, led by the United Kingdom’s London Heathrow Airport, MNL also ranks 6th 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, Philippine Airlines has introduced nonstop flights to Perth, and Air China now directly connects Tianfu Chengdu to NAIA.
Among the top 25 megahubs for low-cost international connections this year, MNL stands out in 3rd place, trailing only KUL (Malaysia) and ICN (Republic of Korea). 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 December 7th. 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,” Manila International Airport Authority (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.
HK Express is set to launch its inaugural flight between Manila and Hong Kong on October 13th, while United Airlines is scheduled to launch nonstop flights connecting Manila with San Francisco starting October 30th.