THE operator of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) will likely meet its projected 45 million passengers and 275,000 flights this year, with an anticipated surge in traffic for the holidays.
In a news statement, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) Officer-in-Charge Bryan Co reported some 41.2 million passengers passing through Naia’s gates, and 257,174 flights arriving and departing said airport from January to November 2023. “Our confidence [in meeting the year-end projection] is fueled by the impressive 11-month totals…and the anticipated passenger surge during the festive season in December.”
Naia data further indicated the number of passengers in the 11 months to November 2023 was just 5.7 percent less than the 43.71 million recorded in the same period in prepandemic 2019, while the total flights were 1.5 percent more than the 253,369 recorded in the same period in 2019.
For full-year 2019, the Naia reached a passenger volume of some 47.91 million, while total flights reached 277,530.
PAL, CEB exceed int’l on-time standard
The MIAA also reported that Philippine carriers have been meeting their scheduled arrivals and departures, exceeding international benchmarks for on-time performance (OTP).
Average OTP for all commercial flights at Naia reached 81 percent in November, a big improvement from the 60-percent OTP in early June, but less than the 82 percent recorded in October. Weather disruptions and global supply chain issues which resulted in maintenance problems among international carriers pulled down their average OTP in June. MIAA failed to release the average OTP in November 2019.
Co said pioneering legacy carrier Philippine Airlines (including PAL Express) recorded an average OTP of 84 percent at the Naia in November, while the average OTP of low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific Air (including Cebgo) was recorded at 83 percent. AirAsia Philippines’s OTP was recorded at 77 percent. According to the International Airport Transport Association (IATA), the global benchmark for OTP is 80 percent, which means an airline is able to attain 80 percent of its published flight schedules.
“The exceptional OTP of our major local airlines, accounting for 81 percent of all flights at Naia, is truly commendable. This impressive performance not only demonstrates their dedication to operational excellence but also significantly enhances the overall efficiency of our airport system,” Co said.
November 2023 levels
Among foreign carriers, Ethiopian Airlines topped the list at 100 percent OTP on its 34 flights, followed closely by Tokyo’s Zipair with 98 percent on 60 flights. Other airlines which achieved high average OTP included All Nippon Airways, Jeju Air, Air China, Kuwait Airways, Saudia, Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, and United Airlines.
In a Viber message to the BusinessMirror, Co explained the reason for the better OTP ratings of international carriers: “This is not their home base. Our home carriers have hundreds of flights per day versus foreign carriers with 2-8 [flights], depending on the airline.”
He added, similarly, the local carriers’ “individual flights going overseas may also get high OTP on the other end since they fly there only on a daily basis, or more for stations like Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, etc.”
Meanwhile, for November alone, MIAA reported 3.8 million passengers passed through Naia’s gates, of which some 2.02 million were domestic travelers and 1.79 million were international passengers. The total accounted for 97 percent of the number of passengers at Naia in November 2019.
Total flight movements exceeded the November 2019 level by 7 percent, reaching 24,120 flights in November 2023. Of the total, 14,520 were domestic flights and 9,600 were international flights. The flight movements cover commercial, cargo, and utility flights.
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