Earlier this year it was reported that airlines would be transferring between terminals at Manila's Ninoy Aquino Airport on August 31. Those plans have now been placed on hold.

Citing "unforeseen operational constraints," the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said in a statement on Facebook regarding the proposed movement of airlines between Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminals is on hold. The current discussion with airlines - including those willing to move to another terminal - have been designated as "exploratory in nature."

Under the proposed "rationalization plan," Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines domestic flights would switch to Terminal 2 - which is currently used by Philippine Airlines for international and domestic flights. Terminal 3 would handle the majority of international flights except for a few airlines including Philippines Airlines which would be assigned to Terminal 1. There were no reported changes mentioned for Terminal 4 - the old domestic terminal - which is used by Cebgo and Air Asia domestic flights.

While the plan won't go through, it was announced by the MIAA and Philippine Airlines that certain flights would see new terminal assignments to help prepare for the rehabilitation of Terminal 2.

In a statement from Philippine Airlines, flights to/from Vancouver, Toronto, and New York will depart and arrive at Terminal 1 starting July 31. Other flight destinations reported by Philippine media outlets to see a switch to Terminal 1 include Abu Dhabi, Dammam, Doha, Jeddah, Kuwait and Riyadh. Those flights will join the current assigned Philippine Airlines flights using Terminal 1 for arrivals from San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Such airline-terminal assignment plan would have benefited Philippine Airlines the most, as it currently has flights spread across three terminals. Not only it would have saved them in costs from moving planes around the airport, it would have simplified the ground transit logistics for Philippine Airlines passengers who want to connect to domestic destinations - which operate out of either Terminal 2 or Terminal 3.

Philippine Airlines' flights being spread across terminals in Manila is a disadvantage compared to Cebu Pacific.  Most of Cebu Pacific's flights operate out of Terminal 3, with the exception is Cebgo flights at Terminal 4. Such a movement would require splitting its domestic and international flights among terminals. The airline would have a legitimate concern over the potential raised costs for its own operations in Manila, which has benefited the airline greatly.

For travellers, it will still be status quo when at Manila. The rationalization plan would have been the largest movement of airlines serving NAIA since several foreign carriers moved from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3 a few years ago. There are airlines willing to transfer terminals, so it is still possible the individual carriers will schedule their own move rather than one mass movement.


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