SOME 1.2 million passengers flew through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), the country’s main gateway, during the All Saints Day/All Souls Day (Undas) break from October 27 to November 5.
In a news statement, the Manila International Airport Authority (Miaa) said 8,000 flights departed and arrived during the 10-day break, which also included the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BKSE) on October 30, also declared a non-working holiday. The flights achieved an on-time performance rating of 84 percent during the period.
“We are pleased with these results, which indicate the continuous recovery of the aviation sector from the Covid-19 pandemic. We find encouragement in the actual numbers aligning with our projections,” said MIAA Officer-in-Charge Bryan Co of its Oplan Biyaheng Ayos: BSKE & Undas 2023.
The total number of passengers who transited through the country’s main gateway for the 10-day period was 44-percent higher than in 2022, for an average of 123,213 passengers a day this year. This year’s passengers were 85 percent of the prepandemic level of 1.43 million passengers during a similar Undas break from October 25 to November 4, 2019.
Of the 1.2 million passengers who transited through the Naia this Undas break, 606,845 were international travelers, while 625,285 were domestic travelers. International passengers for the Undas period in 2019 reached 767,853, while domestic travelers were 659,952.
Co noted that Miaa’s Schedule and Terminal Assignment Rationalization (STAR) program, which reassigned certain carriers to other passenger terminals to optimize the latter’s capacity—significantly enhanced the agency’s ability to handle and accommodate passenger movements during the peak Undas season.
“We attribute the smooth operations to the extensive preparations made not only by Miaa but also to the collaboration of our partners and stakeholders, including the airlines, ground handlers, and over 20 various government agencies operating at Naia,” he stressed.
Under the STAR program, Naia-Terminal 2 was transformed into a purely domestic terminal, while international flights are through Terminals 1 and 3. The latter includes all of Cebu Pacific’s (CEB) flights, domestic and international. Naia-4 is also a domestic terminal used by smaller planes of CEB (DG), as well as AirSwift and Sunlight Air. Co promised more plans to improve the passenger experience at Naia.
On Monday, Transport Secretary Jaime J. Bautista expressed optimism that government will finally be able to take over the abandoned Philippine Village Hotel and the surrounding property, after a writ of execution was issued to the Nayong Pilipino Foundation Inc. (NPFI) allowing it to take possession of the complex, which it had earlier turned over to the Miaa. Said property is the only remaining stumbling block to the Naia modernization project. (See, “DOTr-Miaa keen on PHL Village Hotel takeover,” in the BusinessMirror, November 7, 2023.)
In a separate Viber message to the BusinessMirror, Co said, “We (Miaa), together with the GSIS (Government Service Insurance System), Pasay City government, etc. will support the NPFI in implementing this [writ of execution].”